This week’s Trailblazer is Talaal Rshaidat, Chief Science Officer for Fume, a Canadian producer of full-spectrum cannabis extracts that only uses cannabis-derived terpenes to offer a true to flower experience.

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?

I first became involved in the legal cannabis industry back in 2015 when I joined Mettrum Health Corp as a financial analyst. I had grown up around the pharmaceutical industry, mainly sales, distribution and generic manufacturing. I quickly realized that there were a lot of transferable skills from pharma to cannabis, so I switched focus from finance to operations. Initially my focus was streamlining the supply chain and improving the fulfillment process. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the cannabis industry is where I wanted to be. I started thinking about where I would fit in best, knowing that cultivation and farming was not a skill set I had.

Focusing on extracts made a lot of sense for me because I already had a background in chemistry and I had been experimenting with cannabis extraction since 2010 and so I started creating concept designs for cannabis extraction setups. In 2016 I was recruited by Aphria to become the first employee of Liberty Health Sciences, a medical cannabis license that they had acquired in Florida. Florida was an interesting market, as it only allowed for extract based products, no flower or pre-rolls. Typically flower and pre-rolls make up most of the cannabis consumes, but the absence of those products in Florida made vaporizer cartridges into about +60% of the market. This gave me an incredible opportunity to learn a lot about manufacturing concentrates for use in vaporizer cartridges.

Talaal Fume Labs

What has been the biggest marketing challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?

Cannabis is not new, people have been using it for thousands of years. However, a lot of new techniques are being used to extract and refine cannabis oils. Furthermore, advanced analytical techniques and formulation methods have allowed us to discover new cannabinoids and properties that have resulted in an explosion of innovation. All those new products and processing techniques still need a standardized language to describe them. I think the absence of standardized terminology in the cannabis space as well as extremely low rates of cannabis terminology literacy among consumers and industry participants such as budtenders makes it very difficult for producers to effectively communicate the properties of their products with the end user.

If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?

Allow producers to give potential customers samples of products. If someone is of legal age and can purchase cannabis, why can’t they have a sample of a product they want to purchase? This is especially important when a consumer is trying to make a purchasing decision about a high value product such as rosin.

Fume Labs

In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?

Social media, mainly Instagram.

Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?

  • Bob Ritchot
  • Nathan Todd
  • Jon Fowler
  • Allison Gordon
  • Paul Pedersen

What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to people looking to enter the cannabis industry?

  1. Get familiar with the different product types and formats.
  2. Spend the time learning legacy market terminology instead of making up new terms.
  3. Spend lots of time around production, there’s lots to learn.
Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

A big thank you to Talaal for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.

Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.



ADCANN is a digital publication and content creation team that showcases the most creative concepts in the cannabis space.