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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
INTERVIEW WITH CORT SMITH, CEO OF DAVINCI VAPORIZERS
As the pandemic rages on and cannabis companies become more health-conscious, many have turned to technological advancements to inform product designs.
Trends such as using medical-grade materials and pod-based vaporizers have increased and will continue to protect consumers from harmful chemicals and counterfeit products.
Grasslands’ First Annual Cannabis Concentrates in 2021: Trend Report shows a sharp 40% increase in sales in the cannabis concentrates category throughout 2020 —that’s quite a remarkable increase. Cannabis Law Report delves deeper into the conversation and conclusions with the various experts and industry insiders highlighted in this report to explain what this means for Cannabis, for consumers, and for the year ahead.
Inspired by the vision and tenacity of Renaissance innovator Leonardo da Vinci, Cortney Smith founded DaVinci Tech in 2011 with the desire to change the world’s imagination.
Like its namesake, DaVinci Tech is known for relentless innovation. The dreamers behind the brand never stop pursuing perfection, constantly advancing the cannabis experience through thoughtful design, meticulous engineering and innovative technology. DaVinci Tech designs tiny devices that are changing the bigger conversation about cannabis consumption.
Since DaVinci Tech’s founding, the team has established a legacy in creating trusted products such as the DaVinci Classic and the DaVinci IQ. Its developers draw from a rich history in manufacturing and hardware component design to build responsibly and bring clean consumption to the forefront.
The DaVinci Tech team strives to make the most advanced products with features that follow DaVinci Tech’s brand pillars: Purity, Innovation and Control.
On March 30, 2021, I interviewed Cort Smith, CEO of DaVinci Vaporizers to discuss innovation, product improvements, and how technology is making cannabis safer and cleaner for both companies and consumers.
CLR: Tell me about DaVinci. Why Cannabis? Why do you love your work?
DaVinci is a Las Vegas-based manufacturer of premium vaporizer devices. Since DaVinci’s founding, the team and I have established a legacy in creating trusted products such as the DaVinci™ Classic, the DAVINCI IQ, the dual-use IQ2 and the MIQRO. Our developers draw from a rich history in manufacturing and hardware component design to build responsibly and raise the standard of clean cannabis consumption.
CLR: What is the mission and vision behind DaVinci?
DaVinci’s mission is to innovate clean-first technology for the green space, while striving to be the heralded brand of choice for the cannabis connoisseur.
CLR: What are you most currently passionate about at DaVinci?
I’m most passionate about changing the world’s imagination of what is possible for plant-based wellness while keeping the consumer’s health top of mind.
CLR: How did you get started in Cannabis?
Long story short, I was a young entrepreneur thirsty for product innovation. Cannabis was something that opened up my creativity—it allowed me to imagine technology that didn’t exist.
I started off my career by launching a bungee-jumping company in Asia, and after that I pivoted to international business development and creating partnerships between U.S. companies and Chinese manufacturers. When I returned to the U.S., I wanted to build a new tech-forward business that correlated with my lifestyle and interests.
In 2010, I entered a joint venture with a Chinese company to make e-cigarette hardware and batteries. With what I learned from that project, I could see some unique opportunities for cannabis, and in 2011 focused on creating a portable vaporizer designed for loose-leaf with precision temperature control—I wanted to change the conversation around cannabis, including the current vernacular being used, by providing access to specific cannabinoids.
CLR: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by cannabis executives — that are possibly not faced by other business counterparts?
With a majority of states adopting some sort of medical or recreational cannabis program, it takes some of the legal compliance pressure off of running a business in the cannabis sector. I’m less wary of going to prison for shipping a vaporizer that gets labeled as paraphernalia now, than I was 10 years ago. However, the constantly changing regulatory landscape makes it difficult to maneuver and makes pursuing growth a challenge with an evolving business strategy.
CLR: How do your past professional experiences and successes help you today in the modern cannabis space?
After working in China on product engineering, I learned to ask myself two important questions when building a product: What problem do you solve? And how is what you’re making different from the competition? Without these questions answered, you don’t have a foundation. And that’s how we developed a one-of-a-kind, clean-tech cannabis vaporizer.
CLR: Generally speaking, what are the biggest challenges in formulating and successfully accomplishing delivery of Cannabis-related, clean-tech products?
As you may know, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 back in December which not only included COVID-19 economic relief but a line item that negatively affects the cannabis industry and medical patients—Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (PACT).
The law, intended to prevent underage vaping by applying safeguards to online sales, also unintentionally prohibits the mailing of any devices used for the vaporization of cannabis, hemp, essential oils and other aromatics. We believe this is an attack on medical patients’ rights and access. Patients may not be able to receive the legal, non-tobacco products they need, and this ban’s unintended consequences will significantly increase healthcare costs when pharmaceutical prices are already expensive.
Whether or not strict enforcement of this vape mail ban happens, we’ll keep doing business as planned and will figure out a way around this. We will survive—the strong always survive.
CLR: How have consumers changed since you started in the cannabis space? What type(s) and/or demographics of consumers are you seeing now?
Cannabis continues to become destigmatized and play a greater role in mainstream society. With this transformation, we’re seeing consumer expectations evolve.
Consumers no longer view cannabis and cannabis accessories as fringe businesses, but expect high-level, professional interactions at every turn—as they should. We’ve always catered to the connoisseur and those a bit more health-conscious, so we used to see our demographic as being predominantly male and in the late 30s, early 40s age range. That is shifting dramatically and we’ve seen a rise specifically in women getting their own vaporizers and older patients who are seeking the best on the market.
CLR: What ideas or actions need to come to fruition for true national cannabis reform?
After watching states individually struggle with legalization, it’s obvious what type of reform is needed on the federal level: There needs to be a clear stance on how cannabis will be rescheduled from a Class 1 controlled substance, what rights states will retain and how decriminalization will be handled. There are pitfalls and upsides on every side of the issue.
CLR: Let’s go beyond Corporate Social Responsibility. Talk to me a little about “positive impact” and what that means for you at DaVinci?
From the beginning, my inspiration for this brand was to change the conversation surrounding cannabis. I longed for a time where words like “stoned” or “f*cked up” were not the norm and there was a better way to describe what you felt after using cannabis. It’s our responsibility to change that by giving consumers more options. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing by providing access to cannabinoids through non-combustion heat extraction and informing the consumer on those ways.
CLR: Any advice you could give to other cannabis entrepreneurs?
Always ask yourself, “What problem do I solve, and how do I differentiate?” If you don’t have an answer to those questions, it’s probably not a good business decision.