TDR Exclusive Interview – Joe Hodas, President of Wana Brands

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding Wana Brands and Joe Hodas, President at Wana Brands:

  • Joe Hodas’ journey with Wana Brands began through a professional relationship with founder Nancy Whiteman.
  • Hodas discusses Wana’s diverse product lineup, particularly for sleep and anxiety.
  • Joe Hodas discusses Wana Brands’ international market opportunities, such as those in Switzerland.

Wana Brands, a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED, Nasdaq: CGC), established by Nancy Whiteman in 2010, has grown to become a significant entity in the cannabis edibles market. Recently, Joe Hodas, who joined Wana four years ago and now serves as President, shared insights into the company’s journey, ethos, and future directions in yesterday’s episode of the “Trade to Black” podcast.

Joe Hodas’ association with Wana Brands began during his tenure at Dixie, another cannabis brand in Colorado. Hodas recalled, “Nancy and I started to form a relationship because we’d be up at the Capitol at the same time, constantly working to ensure that the laws that were going to be passed were going to stay in place.” This professional relationship eventually led to Nancy inviting Hodas to join Wana as his previous startup faced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He accepted, joining the company and contributing to its continued growth and success.

Hodas explained, “We knew intuitively that it was a brand that people liked, and you know, obviously, the sales were reflective of that.” He emphasized that the brand’s identity goes beyond its products, encompassing how the company treats its employees, customers, and communities. This comprehensive approach has helped Wana create products that are consistent and well-received by consumers.

The consumer base for Wana’s products is diverse, spanning various age groups and needs. Hodas mentioned, “One of our top selling SKUs are our two sleep products, actually. One that addresses falling asleep and one that addresses staying asleep. So, that SKU appeals across ages, right? Because everyone seemingly has issues with sleep or anxiety or pain or whatever the issues are.” This range of products helps demystify cannabis for older consumers while also catering to younger, more experienced users.

Marketing in the cannabis industry faces significant challenges due to federal and state restrictions. Hodas noted, “I think once it’s moved to schedule three, that’ll loosen things up a little bit. The other piece is, of course, 280E taxes and the financial viability of the industry long term is benefited by a rescheduling.” These changes could potentially reduce stigma and open up new advertising opportunities as societal acceptance of cannabis grows.

Wana’s partnership with Happy to launch hemp-derived Delta-9 THC gummies highlights the company’s mission to enhance people’s lives through accessible cannabis products. Hodas explained, “The hemp-derived opportunity is an expanded version of that, right? We’re no longer relegated to whatever state allows dispensaries to carry us. We can go directly to the consumer with our message and our products.”

Looking ahead, Wana is exploring new product categories and expanding into international markets. Hodas shared insights about their expansion into Switzerland, stating, “Switzerland, you know, if you pay attention to cannabis in Europe, it’s kind of been a little bit of a sleeper. But they announced this pilot program, um, in Switzerland essentially a quasi adult use program that companies and municipalities and universities can collectively create groups and apply for these pilot programs.”

Hodas also addressed the potential of the edibles market, noting, “The new market opportunity is the consumer that isn’t looking to smoke but is looking for something that’s key specific and really dialed into the exact experience they want. And edibles are really one of the few opportunities for that.” This focus on creating tailored experiences for consumers positions Wana well in the increasing cannabis market.

Wana Brands continues to innovate and expand under Joe Hodas’ leadership, with a strong focus on product consistency, consumer needs, and market opportunities both domestically and internationally. The company’s strategic decisions and commitment to its core values ensure its significant presence in the cannabis industry. Want to be updated on Cannabis, AI, Small Cap, and Crypto? Subscribe to our Daily Baked in Newsletter!

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