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Midterm Election Results photo

Midterm Election Results

Jensen Pindell , 11/15/22

This week was a greatly anticipated Midterm election, especially if you are part of the cannabis industry. The main initiatives dealing with cannabis-focused on five states: Missouri, Maryland, Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Let’s look at what happened! Arkansas, already having a medical market, rejected Issue 4, which would have opened an adult-use market in the state. Maryland voters had a 65% response of yes to the question, “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or... Read More >
Is There Special Halloween Candy? photo

Is There Special Halloween Candy?

by Michael Jara, 10/31/22

Happy Halloween! As we all know, October is a big time for most retailers selling edible products, particularly candy. According to a study by, Americans spent over 10 billion dollars on Halloween last year, a record high. Roughly 3 billion of this is just on candy. This year we expect to see even more money spent overall, which begs the question, do the sales of edibles within the cannabis industry also reflect this behavior? As a reminder, edibles are defined as products containing THC that can be consumed by eating or drinking. There are... Read More >
Cannabis Seeds and the 2018 Farm Bill photo

Cannabis Seeds and the 2018 Farm Bill

by Paige Reimers, 10/17/22

Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ascertained that while cannabis seeds will eventually grow into cannabis plants, they do not fall under the Controlled Substance list due to the federal legalization of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance (grouped with heroin and ecstasy) with no currently accepted medical use under the Controlled Substances Act. Before this update, cannabis seeds were considered a controlled substance. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and... Read More >
The Importance of Categorization in Cannabis photo

The Importance of Categorization in Cannabis

by Michael Jara, 10/13/22

Within any state track-and-trace system, there are "Product Categories" where licensees can organize their cannabis inventory. For example, "Pre-roll Flower" is defined as "pre-rolled joints made with full cannabis flower with a unit of measure (each) AND strain attached AND weight within the unit (grams). METRC, one of the most common track-and-trace systems in the United States, implements product categories by state, allowing each market to determine which types they will use. METRC users must ensure products are grouped correctly. A product grouped incorrectly skews state statistics and complicates a licensee's inventory. Both have relatively... Read More >
Inflation pt. 2 photo

Inflation pt. 2

by Michael Jara, 9/27/22

As we near the end of 2022, we see the inflation rate for the US finally stabilize at about 8-9%. This is still the highest in recent history. However, as we discussed in our first blog post, the cannabis industry as a whole has not suffered the same price increases as other industries. This does not mean there haven’t been changes to cannabis sales over the last couple years.   So far in 2022, we can... Read More >
Artificial Intelligence Regulation photo

Artificial Intelligence Regulation

by Alec Horn, 9/19/22

The potential of artificial intelligence is growing by the day, with industries across the globe implementing these systems to help drive everyday operations. Consequently, governments have taken an extreme interest in the possibilities of AI and its impact on people's daily lives. The European Union is an excellent example of this, as they have introduced a new Artificial Intelligence Act that will set the foundation for how European countries look at and regulate AI.   To understand the implications of this act, it is... Read More >
Cannabis Public Policy Consulting Forms Partnership with California Cannabis Authority photo

Cannabis Public Policy Consulting Forms Partnership with California Cannabis Authority, 9/7/22

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, USA, September 6, 2022 / -- Cannabis Public Policy Consulting (CPPC) and California Cannabis Authority (CCA) have launched a partnership to bring expert consulting, the most advanced data analytics, and the most comprehensive and current datasets to cannabis regulation in California. CPPC is the only independent consultancy in cannabis-focused exclusively on data-informed development and implementation of legalization policies that are designed to create safe, equitable, and efficient markets that promote economic opportunities and protect public health and safety. CCA is a Joint Powers... Read More >
All About Artificial Intelligence photo

All About Artificial Intelligence

by Will Krebs, 8/26/22

Articles about artificial intelligence are published daily online and in the media with promises to revolutionize industries, automate tasks, and (occasionally) act violently toward humans. Recently, AI has evolved to a higher level of ability in emulating human traits like creativity and language processing. As AI relates to creativity, an AI model named Dall-E (now Crayion) took the internet by storm, generating artwork based on a text prompt. The resultant pieces range from... Read More >
Unique Conditions of Cannabis Track and Trace photo

Unique Conditions of Cannabis Track and Trace

Michael McDermott, 8/18/22

The requirement to track products across the supply chain from seed to final sale exists in highly regulated industries such as food, pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Track and Trace systems aim to achieve two main objectives: Protect consumer health and safety with the ability to recall products. To comply with rules and regulations and provide transparency of transactions across the supply chain. Different track and trace systems are developed for each industry's unique requirements. However, the main difference in the cannabis industry from the other industries is the lack of consistent regulations across legal markets. Each state can... Read More >
EVENT: PBC Conference Sept. 7 & 8 photo

EVENT: PBC Conference Sept. 7 & 8

Jensen Pindell, 8/4/22

NCS Analytics upcoming event schedule for September starts with the PBC Conference! Come meet up with us on the road! Michael McDermott will be attending the PBC Conference September 7-8 in Washington DC. If you have any questions or want to connect before, you can contact us via email at or schedule a one-on-one meeting with Michael here.   ... Read More >
Impact of Inflation on the Cannabis Industry photo

Impact of Inflation on the Cannabis Industry

by Michael Jara, 7/27/22

Today’s headlines are filled with discussions on inflation. So what exactly is it? Inflation is the downfall of purchasing power for a given currency. The inflation rate in the United States has been relatively stable since the 1980s, around 1-2%, but it has started to accelerate. In 2021, we saw the inflation rate soar to about 7%, and so far this year, we are trending towards 8.3%. Inflation is a contributing factor in the cost of various products. Milk, meat, butter, and flour prices... Read More >
Hemp Biofuel photo

Hemp Biofuel

by Will Krebs, 7/25/22

Biomass as a fuel source has been around ever since humans thought to rub two sticks together. While fossil fuels have long since usurped it as the go-to energy source used to power our cities, biomass still accounts for around 1.3% of the energy produced in the US.  Modern bioethanol and biodiesel produce energy through the same chemical process as prehistoric wood fires and fossil fuels by releasing the latent energy stored in the fuel in the form of heat. This process is called combustion, and it is commonly found... Read More >
NCAA Tolerance Testing photo

NCAA Tolerance Testing

by Nick Purdom, 7/22/22

On February 25, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decided to relax their marijuana testing policies by increasing the amount of THC needed to be found in an athlete to produce a positive test. The previous threshold for a positive test of 35 nanograms per milliliter was increased to 150 nanograms per milliliter. The change became effective immediately and was retroactively applied to all drug tests taken in the fall semester of 2021. The NCAA's goal for this change is to better align with the levels required by the World Anti-Doping Agency. With marijuana... Read More >
Trending Cannabinoids photo

Trending Cannabinoids

by Leigh-Ann Bradley, 7/11/22

With research constantly evolving, cannabis producers are advertising for more than just THC and CBD in products. THC and CBD are only two of the hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, so it makes sense that some "new" cannabinoids are trending for their effects. Delta-8 and CBN are a couple of popular cannabinoids we are seeing hype around.   The legality of Delta-8 products has been a topic of debate across the country because it comes from hemp, not cannabis (and therefore may... Read More >
NASCUS Cannabis Banking Symposium Highlights and Lessons Learned photo

NASCUS Cannabis Banking Symposium Highlights and Lessons Learned

Michael McDermott, 6/27/22

DENVER, Colo. – June 27, 2022 - The symposium offered a complete view of the current state of cannabis banking with a mix of speakers and attendees representing credit unions, state regulators, and supporting suppliers and vendors.  All of the sessions highlighted the current challenges, lessons learned, and possible solutions. Three key topics from the symposium: The lack of federal policy to outline laws and regulations creates additional challenges for financial institutions providing services to one of the fastest-growing industries in the US.A compliance-centric approach with transparency and communication is... Read More >
Supply Chain Challenges Impacting the Cannabis Industry’s Growth photo

Supply Chain Challenges Impacting the Cannabis Industry’s Growth

Michael McDermott, 3/7/22

The good news is the cannabis industry is growing in terms of new states legalizing medical and recreation use and consumer usage, even through the COVID-19 pandemic. This growth translates into more facilities and jobs. However, the timing of this growth is during a unique restarting of a global economy and supply chain. The ability to keep pace under the current constraints and increasing costs requires an understanding of the supply chain and proper planning to navigate. Since the term “supply chain” has multiple meanings, I am specifically referring to the “traditional” operational supply... Read More >
The Pros and Cons of Soil and Hydroponic Grows photo

The Pros and Cons of Soil and Hydroponic Grows

by Leigh-Ann Bradley, 8/25/21

Cannabis cultivators consider several factors to achieve a high yield and THC levels out of their harvests. Things like the amount of water used, nutrients added, and the amount of sunlight provided must be calculated and perfected to ensure a consistent, usable product. There are two main strategies most cultivators use to grow cannabis: soil or hydroponic growing. Hydroponic growing utilizes water instead of soil. When using a hydroponic growing technique, another grow medium is used to keep the plant upright, and the plants' roots are exposed directly to water. Let's break down the differences and similarities... Read More >
Covid’s Impact on the Cannabis Industry photo

Covid’s Impact on the Cannabis Industry

by Nick Purdom, 7/19/21

Every industry has felt the effects of COVID-19 over the 15 months, and the cannabis industry is no exception. In the first weeks after the virus was declared a global pandemic, there was widespread uncertainty about what was to come. Panic buying ensued for items including food, toilet paper, and even cannabis products. While the slight uptick in sales was great, business owners were left in a state of flux. Were their businesses going to have to close for an unforeseeable amount of time? What would they do with all their product? Fortunately, in nearly every... Read More >
The Benefit of Multiple Data Sources photo

The Benefit of Multiple Data Sources

Isaac Freitas, 4/14/21

In addition to the already established data feeds, the NCS Platform can incorporate data from state-mandated reporting systems, data submitted directly from operators, third-party API submissions by point-of-sale vendors, financial records, and tax information. Capturing data from multiple sources provides the flexibility to include pertinent information for each regulatory need. Each of these data sources is integrated into the NCS Platform to give a comprehensive view of the licensed businesses. In states with a mandatory state-reporting system, such as METRC or BiotrackTHC, governments, and financial institutions can... Read More >
Quality Assurance the NCS Way photo

Quality Assurance the NCS Way

Isaac Freitas, 4/7/21

Bringing insight to licensee data takes developing top-level reports and ensuring the validity and quality of data from the moment it arrives. NCS receives data from various sources, and each piece of data goes through a series of checkpoints before it is displayed in the NCS Platform. Upon receipt, the data's quality is checked to ensure that the correct fields have been included with no vital information missing. This includes checking to see if necessary fields such as sales dates, transfer times, or package labels are present. ... Read More >
How Long is Too Long?: Cannabis Shelf Life photo

How Long is Too Long?: Cannabis Shelf Life

by Mark Nassi, 3/31/21

Think about the pantry or spice rack in your home. Do you have any products or spices you don't know exactly how old they are? I'm guilty of this, so I assume others are as well. In my family, the garlic, basil, and oregano get cycled pretty well. But I couldn't tell you how old the marjoram, mustard or carraway is. Would I ever use those again? Probably. I'm not exactly America's Top Chef™. I am a gardener, though. I love harvesting my vegetables and herbs and... Read More >
Planning, Improving and Evolving With Agile Development photo

Planning, Improving and Evolving With Agile Development

by Dani Berger, 3/24/21

Imagine you just purchased a home. It's nearly new, but there are still several improvements and refinements you'd like to make. As time passes, the list is continuously changing and evolving. Before long, it seems that you are constantly working on a project and planning for the next. Continually making home improvements is not that much different from using the agile development process to enhance the NCS Platform. The NCS Platform is a web-based application, and our team of developers and analysts are always hard at work... Read More >
The Effect of Big Data photo

The Effect of Big Data

by Paige Reimers, 3/10/21

The term "Big Data" often brings notions of the more, the better. But as the volume and the number of available datasets have grown over the last two decades, the consumers of Big Data have started to feel the ramifications. When big data gets too big, it can become unwieldy; it's too much to review, often unorganized, or doesn't have analytical power to evaluate it. One of the original definitions of Big Data (Gartner, 2001) is "data that contains greater variety arriving in increasing volumes... Read More >
Modeling Snow Forecasts: Is There A Superior Method? photo

Modeling Snow Forecasts: Is There A Superior Method?

by Will Krebs, 3/3/21

Looks like this year’s La Niña dry weather pattern isn’t going to be ruining anybody’s ski season. Last weekend, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort saw upwards of 30 inches of snow, leading to some incredible days to ski there. Unfortunately, I have been sidelined with a fractured kneecap and torn MPFL, but for anyone who had the foresight to plan for it, the weekend of 2/6 may have been 2021’s best thus far. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts are always chasing after those coveted “pow days”. Unless you live within a few miles of a ski resort, you’re most likely... Read More >
Is that deductible? Cost of Goods Sold and 280E photo

Is that deductible? Cost of Goods Sold and 280E

by Mark Nassi, 2/24/21

Let's say I was going to make a simple object like a hand-thrown pot for a plant. You'd need clay, a potter's wheel, some hand tools, a kiln, glaze, and maybe a rack for storage. You'd also need someone to make the pot, fire the pot, and sell the pot (could be the same person, but for this example, let's assume separate people). You'd need a studio space and utilities. Because this pot-making process can't be done in a day, there is a manufacturing progression. You'll have some pots in the... Read More >
The Magic Of An API photo

The Magic Of An API

by Dani Berger, 2/17/21

By now, you're probably familiar with NCS, and know we ingest hundreds of millions of data points every day, but have you ever wondered how we do it? The NCS Analytics Engine is set up to take in a wide array of data types from various sources. The most common way we receive data is through an API. What is an API, you ask? Great question! The word API stands for Application Programming Interface. It's a link that allows two applications, or software, to send and receive information. It works behind... Read More >
Cultivation Deep Dive: What is a plant batch anyway? photo

Cultivation Deep Dive: What is a plant batch anyway?

Isaac Freitas, 2/10/21

Plant batches are a mechanism to record the cultivation processes of CRBs for the track-and-trace system and are required by law in most jurisdictions. A plant batch is a group of cannabis plants started simultaneously, often legally required to be of the same strain. Plants organized into a batch often come from the same starting method, such as planting seeds or clones from other cannabis plants. This makes it easy for the cultivators to know where plants are in the growth cycle and makes it straightforward for regulators to see plants' current status in a... Read More >
Know Your Portfolio with Ongoing Monitoring photo

Know Your Portfolio with Ongoing Monitoring

by Paige Reimers, 2/3/21

Any financial institution looking to start a cannabis banking program should first review their due diligence (or know-your-customer) programs. Many existing CRB programs across the country succeed by partnering with their state or local governments and their BSA (or compliance) teams to provide the highest level of transparency, but not without the legwork of establishing reliable procedures. While the initial steps of any compliance program start with preliminary customer due diligence, many times, consistent, ongoing monitoring falls by the wayside because it can be overly time-consuming. ... Read More >
How Much Did I Sell Last Month? photo

How Much Did I Sell Last Month?

by Mark Nassi, 1/27/21

Reporting periods in accounting can be distinctly complicated and are typically left to accountants to handle. For example, Balance Sheets are a snapshot at a point in time, usually the end of a month, quarter, or year while an Income Statement is the reporting over some time, such as the "month of" or "last year." Straight forward conceptually, but it can be quite tricky and different depending on each industry's standards. Using real estate development as an example, say you are a developer building a house. When... Read More >
The Power of Predictive Analytics: Is it always enough? photo

The Power of Predictive Analytics: Is it always enough?

by Will Krebs, 1/18/21

Many expected an Alabama victory in the College Football Championship Game on Monday, but the 52-24 blowout win we witnessed over Ohio State was more decisive than any sportsbook had predicted. Personally, I was securely in the camp of believers who expected a close game, perhaps even an upset. Pre-game betting lines expected Nick Saban’s team to win by around 8 points, quite far off from the actual 28-point margin. 2020 has been a unique year for college football, with Ohio State playing about half the number of games in a normal schedule, so some... Read More >
Descriptive, Predictive, Prescriptive…Oh my! photo

Descriptive, Predictive, Prescriptive…Oh my!

by Sharon Hanger, 1/13/21

If you search for the definition of analytics, it comes out something like this…Analytics is the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics.  Let’s add to that… which is used to interpret and/or communicate patterns in data.  There, that makes it much clearer.  Doesn’t it?  Analytics turns patterns and data into information that can be used to inform decision making.  There are 3 main types of data analytics that are used in business to make sense of the mountains of data that is collected - Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive.  Descriptive analytics is the interpretation of historical data to show what has happened... Read More >
Schedule Classifications and the MORE Act photo

Schedule Classifications and the MORE Act

by Dani Berger, 12/9/20

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act established U.S. Federal drug policy to regulate the manufacture, import, possession, use, and distribution of certain substances. The Act created five classifications that substances would fall under based on their potential for abuse and perceived medical use. A Schedule 1 classification is the most restrictive category, containing drugs the Federal government deemed as having no medical value and a high potential for abuse. On Friday, December 4th, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act (H.R.3884). This bill decriminalizes marijuana, specifically removing it from... Read More >
Big Data, Dialed In photo

Big Data, Dialed In

by Will Krebs, 11/25/20

Big data is only as powerful as the insights that can be extrapolated from it. That’s why, here at NCS Analytics, we are always busy making sure that the alerts we deliver to our clients are as accurate and meaningful as possible. Millions of data points are distilled down into the processes which create every one of our alerts. Access to larger, more complete datasets allows us to understand better the real-life procedures and actions that create the data. For example, retail markets are extremely complex and require a vast amount of data to accurately... Read More >
The Value of Agile Development photo

The Value of Agile Development

Isaac Freitas, 11/4/20

The NCS team is dedicated to consistently bringing our clients new, exciting enhancements and features to the NCS Platform. Researching new analytic measures and adding new reporting features requires coordination across the whole company. NCS Analytics has adopted an agile development process that integrates everyone from the executive team to the data analysts. Agile development provides accountability and awareness of what each person is working on and ensures projects move forward in a timely manner. Daily stand up meetings provide a short, quick, check-in for all team members to discuss what... Read More >
Taming the Data Monster photo

Taming the Data Monster

by Sharon Hanger, 10/28/20

It starts out as a trickle…information that you need to collect about your clients, constituents, applicants, or others. It may be for regulatory purposes, for reporting purposes, for review and approval purposes. It starts to grow as there are more and more sources…as policies change, as markets expand, as new information is required to keep up. The trickle is now a deluge. It has become a DATA MONSTER! How do you make sense of it? How do you know what is important and what is just noise? NCS Analytics... Read More >
The Burden of Data photo

The Burden of Data

by Mark Nassi, 10/21/20

Every day, new data is coming in from MRBs. Nearly every day, we get a question or complaint about the data being requested. The complaints range from “this is too much of a burden” to “this is proprietary data we don’t want to share.” We at NCS have done our best to collect the smallest amount of data to meet your objectives. At the end of the day, our job is to validate the activities of your licensees. We think of this as legitimizing a high-risk industry by weeding (no pun intended) out the nefarious players. We... Read More >
Analytics Spotlight: Package Quantity photo

Analytics Spotlight: Package Quantity

by Paige Reimers, 10/14/20

Package Quantity alerts occur and display in the NCS Platform when, according to the data source, an inventory package has a negative remaining quantity. For example, a package of gummy bears initially started with 100, has been sold from, and now reportedly has -10 left (meaning 110 total were sold). How is that possible, you ask? Good question. There are some potentially reasonable explanations for this flag to appear. If retail locations have multiple packages of the same exact product, they may not notice they are using an incorrect label to... Read More >
Environmental Impact on Outdoor Grow Operations photo

Environmental Impact on Outdoor Grow Operations

by Dani Berger, 10/7/20

Skys throughout the West Coast have been filled with smoke the past several weeks and months. At the height of the smoke, the sun was nearly completely blocked out in parts of the country. For cannabis cultivators with outdoor grow operations, this could mean significant changes in their product and process for their current and upcoming harvests. Sunlight is a critical factor in outdoor cultivation. Significant time without adequate light could result in plants not fully developing, as well as decreased yields. Poor air quality may also... Read More >
Founder Insight: The Power of Informed Conversations photo

Founder Insight: The Power of Informed Conversations

by Mark Nassi, 9/30/20

Imagine you are driving down the highway on a clear afternoon. You have the cruise control set to around the speed limit. You’re listening to some music that puts a smile on your face. Out in the distance, you a see a highway patrol car parked on the side of the road. Instinctively, you tap your brakes, and your cruise control turns off. You slow down. As you pass the officer, you check the rearview mirror, and maybe your heart rate speeds up. Why? You were driving the speed limit. Your... Read More >
Compliance Review: Making Sense Of It All photo

Compliance Review: Making Sense Of It All

by Sharon Hanger, 9/23/20

Regulated industries are regulated to protect the interests of consumers and users, to protect employees, and to protect the businesses themselves. The cannabis industry’s fast rise and continued growth presents challenges to the states and localities charged with enforcing regulations that are maturing and evolving along with the industry. This speed of evolution and continued rise requires that regulators have access to the full picture of the market to ensure that licensed operators are compliant, consumers are receiving safe products, and illicit markets are shut down as quickly as possible. ... Read More >
Is The Simplest Answer Always the Right One? photo

Is The Simplest Answer Always the Right One?

by Mark Nassi, 9/9/20

While Occam’s Razor states that the simplest answer is usually correct, it doesn’t say that it is always correct. At NCS, we pride ourselves on identifying outliers. While it’s easy to say that those who have outliers in their data are all bad actors, that just isn’t true. As an example, we routinely see a cannabis retailer selling an eighth of their flower product for $0.01. This is an outlier because how can a company stay in business if they are selling their products for a penny? ... Read More >
The Importance of Different Data Streams photo

The Importance of Different Data Streams

by Adam Crabtree, 9/2/20

In an ideal world, you could look at the same activity through different data sets and get to the same result, but sadly that is the exception rather than the rule. Inconsistencies could be a result of something simple, like subtle differences in reporting mechanisms or absent-minded mistakes. A more sinister root cause could be complex nefarious schemes built to achieve certain ends. We have seen the gambit over the years, and we aren't alone. Recently, the City and County of Denver released an audit that cited multiple occurrences of different sales numbers being reported... Read More >
Data Tracing photo

Data Tracing

by Paige Reimers, 8/26/20

Track-and-trace systems were designed to provide regulators of all shapes and sizes vital information to promote their mission. Tracking products in “high-risk” industries is essential, but one of the most significant benefits is the ability to trace any product back to its source. For cannabis, this means from the second a seed (or clone) is put in soil, to the moment it is sold to a patient or consumer, data is available. Every product you see on the retail shelf has a history, or “story,” that can be traced through information reported by growers,... Read More >
Compliance and Data photo

Compliance and Data

by Paige Reimers, 8/19/20

The cannabis industry is one of the newest and most regulated industries in the world. Cannabis is in its infant stages, and it has never been more important to see a holistic and comprehensive view of what is happening at each business on a granular level. One fundamental way to gain understanding is by requiring Operators to report their activity every single day. While many have expressed the toll this takes on workforce and resources, it is far from the only industry to have reporting requirements.  The healthcare industry... Read More >
Diverting Cannabis from the Supply Chain photo

Diverting Cannabis from the Supply Chain

by Sharon Hanger, 8/12/20

According to its definition, diversion is “an instance of turning something aside from its intended course." For example, a river can be diverted away from a town by a dam. In commerce, diversion is the act of selling goods in a market for which they were not intended, usually without the knowledge or permission of the original seller. The latter, unfortunately, can occur in the cannabis supply chain. Material that is planted, harvested, and manufactured for sale is diverted from the legal market. Where does it go? Often products or material... Read More >
Analytics Spotlight: Outlier Data photo

Analytics Spotlight: Outlier Data

by Will Krebs, 7/29/20

The NCS Platform takes in hundreds of thousands of data points on a daily basis. The analytics engine identifies transactions that fall outside of the statistical norms in order to alert our clients about unusual activity. How do we know these are really atypical transactions, you ask? One way that we distinguish the "normal" from the "abnormal" is by using a common statistical term called the Normal Distribution, also known as the Bell Curve. The bell curve is evident around the globe in a variety of... Read More >
Analytics Spotlight: Medicinal vs. Adult Use photo

Analytics Spotlight: Medicinal vs. Adult Use

Paige Reimers , 7/23/20

Cannabis has evolved significantly over the past few decades from a primarily untracked, unregulated, gray market industry to one of the most regulated industries in the country. The recent introduction of the adult-use market (in 11 states) has proved to be successful for enforcement and regulatory budgets over the past few years by bringing in new tax revenue. As the adult-use market grew, it created distinctions between it and the medicinal market. When analytics were applied to the data (logically separated by which side of the industry, the activity was occurring),... Read More >
Analytics Spotlight: Flowering Time photo

Analytics Spotlight: Flowering Time

Adam Zukowski, 4/24/20

Flowering is the final stage in the growth cycle of a cannabis plant. During this phase, flowers, commonly referred to as buds, will appear. Flowers are the part of the plant that produces cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the chemicals found in cannabis plants and contain the psychoactive compounds. During the flowering phase, the plants typically go from 18 hours of light a day to 12 hours. The team of analysts at NCS use flowering time as one of many indicators to examine cultivators inside the cannabis track-and-trace lifecycle. The typical cannabis plant is flowering for 8 to 11 weeks, but some strains... Read More >
Cannabis banking bill may falter again despite state support photo

Cannabis banking bill may falter again despite state support


By Sophie Quinton, WASHINGTON — Many state leaders are hoping the fourth time’s the charm for a federal bill that would protect banks from being penalized for serving licensed cannabis businesses. Many banks are reluctant to work with marijuana businesses or people in the industry because federal law says the plant is a dangerous drug. Seventeen state treasurers and attorneys general from 34 states and four U.S. territories back the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, authored by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Colorado. They argue that under current law, licensed... Read More >
38 Attorneys General Ask Congress To Bring Marijuana Money Into Banking System photo

38 Attorneys General Ask Congress To Bring Marijuana Money Into Banking System


By Laurel Wamsley The attorneys general of 38 states and territories sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, urging them: Please, let us bank the money generated by the country's booming cannabis business. Most states and several U.S. territories have legalized medical marijuana, and 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use. But federal law still considers marijuana illegal, which exposes banks to legal risk if they handle weed-related money or transactions. "This is simple: Not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system... Read More >
Michigan regulators tighten access to caregiver medical marijuana photo

Michigan regulators tighten access to caregiver medical marijuana


By Jeff Smith Michigan medical cannabis dispensaries will no longer have the option to buy products directly from caregivers. It’s a move that should please permitted growers, some of which have alleged that untested caregiver medical marijuana supplies are dangerous and cutting into licensed sales. The new Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued what it characterized as “new practices” in a news release on Thursday. The provisions reflect the new agency’s initial move toward establishing a more regulated market. Here are some of... Read More >
In-Depth: Marijuana Businesses Face Up To Payments Problem photo

In-Depth: Marijuana Businesses Face Up To Payments Problem


By Chris Sieroty Despite the perception that U.S. legalized marijuana has a payments problem, industry executives and analysts believe an increasing number of financial institutions are quietly opening their doors to the industry. “I would say instead of unbanked, it’s underbanked,” said Dustin Eide, chief executive of CanPay, a debit-based, digital payments network for the cannabis industry. In total, 33 U.S. states now have some sort of legalization of marijuana. Eide told attendees at this month’s Power of Prepaid 2019 conference in Washington, D.C. that his company now has approximately... Read More >
Is this the pot banking fix? photo

Is this the pot banking fix?


By Nathan DiCamillo Marijuana habits are pretty predictable. Poorer young people tend to smoke pot, while older consumers tend to use concentrated products like vape pens and edibles. While that conclusion may not be shocking, it's based on reams of proprietary data examined by NCS Analytics, a Denver-based firm that is building a data portal between banks, two states, and marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) that sifts through information to alert bankers and regulators to suspicious activity. “You can take one of our markets, drop a pin on the map,... Read More >

Michigan Wants to Help Pot Businesses Bank Cash


By Jonathan Oosting Lansing — Michigan is pulling in more than $1 million a month in tax revenue from medical marijuana businesses — and most of it is coming in the form of cold, hard cash. With legal recreational sales on the horizon, state regulators and business groups are working to address one of the most vexing issues facing the budding industry: Banks remain wary of working with cannabis companies because the drug remains illegal at the federal level. “The biggest hurdle is the fact that it is considered, by federal standards,... Read More >
Founder’s Corner: Volatility photo

Founder’s Corner: Volatility

by Adam Crabtree, 12/28/18

If you were to ask an entrepreneur what word best described their life, you might get two answers. If you don’t know them well,  you’ll get a long string of “great, awesome, amazing.” If you can push past the surface, I would wager the answer would be a hesitant look, a pause and then some version of the word “volatile.” Marc Andreessen wrote about this a few years ago: “First and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day?—?one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own... Read More >
Founder’s Corner Budgeting photo

Founder’s Corner Budgeting

by Mark Nassi, 12/21/18

Budgeting is the most wonderful time of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are great holidays, but its Q4 budget making time that really gets me giddy… No, I’m not that lame.  My colleagues and kids might disagree, but how can anything compete with glutinous turkey indulgence and piss poor football games (when was the last good turkey day game…)? Every year around this time, companies go in to budgeting mode.  Close the books on Q3 and you can estimate out Q4 with a reasonable degree of certainty giving you a fairly good idea how the year has gone/will finish up. In the words... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Data Driven…Anything photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Data Driven…Anything

Evan Bumann, 11/30/18

“Data-driven ______”. Fill in the blank with just about anything relevant to today’s societal events and chances are a Google search will turn up at least a few thousand examples of whatever it is you typed in. Much like other current business buzzwords (“big data”, anyone?), I see one phrase used far more often than necessary, and far too frequently in a way which is more or less redundant. “Data-driven analytics” and “data-driven decision-making” are two terms which immediately come to mind. The concept of using empirical information to make decisions is not brand new, though in present-day society... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Statistical Significance photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Statistical Significance

Isaac Freitas, 11/16/18

What’s the difference between the right amount of ketchup on a burger and too much or too little? One might think they could just eyeball what is right, but when it comes to large quantities of burgers, a specific measurable process would be needed to define what is or is not abnormal.  For those of us not making hamburgers, the same principles apply to figuring out whether a difference in any two or more groups is statistically significant.  These principles can be applied in any industry including the adult beverage industry where the origins of statistical significance found root. ... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Machine Learning photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Machine Learning

Jason Adams, 11/2/18

“In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there’s a land that’s fair and bright….” In this song about a distant, magical place, not only is the land fair and bright, but it never rains or snows, the wind is never blowing, eggs come out of hens already soft-boiled, work never has to be done, and, among other nice things, people are free to do whatever they want there. While the song is clearly fictional, there is a Big Rock Candy Mountain of sorts that exists in the minds of many people involved in data analysis. In this “place,” every question... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: SEO photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: SEO

Katie Orong, 10/26/18

“You have a lot of strong feelings, don’t you?” This was something a professor said to me in grad school. To be honest, he’s right. There’s a lot of things that I think are super annoying. I cannot stand Los Angeles, I don’t like capers, I think that e-books hurt your eyes and I also believe that SEO is a buzzword that needs to die in a hole…alone. I’ve been in marketing for several years now. I’ve learned about content marketing, video marketing, social media, graphic design, even managed cost-per-lead programs. But throughout my time in marketing,... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Proformas photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Proformas

by Mark Nassi, 10/19/18

Not all of the “buzzwords” in this series are about technology. As a CFO, my most hated buzzwords are “proforma financials.” (I’ll tackle its less attractive but equally annoying cousin “budget” in another post.) Don’t get me wrong, they are valuable, but they are definitely not the end all be all in decision making. One of the biggest misunderstandings in this process is the carefully choreographed dance behind the scenes. Understanding the different motivations of users will help you efficiently and effectively craft your projections. Proformas.  People always ask for them when you are at your busiest.  Right when you are... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: KYC photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: KYC

by Paige Reimers, 10/12/18

Buzzwords. I heard them while I was a banker and I hear them now working  in fintech. There are PLENTY of tech terms that make my skin crawl, but the one that I hear thrown around the most is infamous for anyone who has ever worked in a financial institution. It’s something that is engrained into your job in an FI and also is one of the most overused acronyms. It’s the ever so popular KYC. KYC, or “know your customer”, was the phrase I heard most during my time in banking (besides the notorious CYA, “cover your ass…ets”). It is... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Big Data – Understanding the Myth photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Big Data – Understanding the Myth

by Adam Crabtree, 10/5/18

 “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”    This all-too-true analogy is attributed to Duke Professor Dan Ariely. Big Data, its connotations, and its often-incorrect implications, also are a pet-peeve of mine. This week’s diatribe will hopefully demystify Big Data, as well as give a functional, albeit basic, understanding of what Big Data is. A later installment will examine what it can and can’t do. Big Data is one of those terms that everyone says but no one... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t

by Adam Crabtree, 9/28/18

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak because they have to say something.”      -Plato The goal of the NCS blog series has been to give the reader unique insights, be it into the startup life through “Founders Corner”  or a better understanding of a specific methodology or treatment through “Nerding Out” . Well this new series “Buzzwords and BullSh!t” is no different, just slightly more cynical. The goal of this series is to take a hard look at some of the most talked about technology, explain in common terms what it can do, what... Read More >
Take a Snapshot: Using Vector & Raster Data in Mapping photo

Take a Snapshot: Using Vector & Raster Data in Mapping

Evan Bumann, 9/21/18

Spatial relationships have been and always will be a relevant part of life; any piece of data which can be observed in space and time can be mapped and visualized. This geospatial data is typically stored in one of two forms: raster and vector. Raster data is organized as a grid, every square of which is consistent in size and tied to a geographical reference point in space at a specific time. Geographic data of this type is often multispectral or hyperspectral imagery acquired via aircraft or satellite (think of an aerial map). The terms Multi- and hyperspectral refer to the... Read More >
Some Models Don’t Tell the Truth – Using Statistical Models Realistically photo

Some Models Don’t Tell the Truth – Using Statistical Models Realistically

Jason Adams, 9/7/18

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.” This quote, well-known to statisticians, comes from one of the most influential figures in statistics, George Box. The point that Box was making is one that is misunderstood by many data analysts, from novices to experienced researchers: every statistical model is an approximation to reality. To understand how an approximation to reality can still be useful, consider the two models visualized in the following figure.   Knowing that both of these models come from the same data set, a... Read More >
How to Tell if You’re Banking a Pot Business photo

How to Tell if You’re Banking a Pot Business

Katie Orong, 8/27/18

Though established over 70 years ago, Salal Credit Union in Seattle only began exploring business banking in 2012. And at first, it took clients at their word. “We were still in the infancy of our business banking growth,” said Russell Rosendal, chief executive and president of the $594 million-asset credit union. “They might say that they were a flower business or something like that.” Due diligence afterward caught customers that didn’t disclose they were in fact selling medicinal marijuana (legalized in Washington state for medical purposes in 1998 and for recreational use in 2012), but the issuance of the Cole Memo persuaded... Read More >
How to Use Regression and Classification in the Regulatory Space photo

How to Use Regression and Classification in the Regulatory Space

Adam Zukowski, 8/24/18

When it comes to analyzing data there are a variety of methods that can be used. But most applications of data analytics today fall under one of two categories: regression and classification. Regression is the process of using past data to predict the future value of a continuous numerical variable. This can include anything from predicting a stock’s price next week to predicting how many people will be infected by an epidemic. Classification, on the other hand, is the process of using past data to place data points into discrete categories.... Read More >
Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Which Method Should You Use? photo

Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Which Method Should You Use?

Isaac Freitas, 8/10/18

Any analytics project, whether analyzing for compliance in cannabis regulations or measuring market dynamics over time, begins through understanding the data available. Data can be placed broadly into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. These categories determine whether statistical and/or mathematical techniques are appropriate for the research. Quantitative data encompasses any information represented in a numeric form, such as integers for a count of plants, or continuous intervals or ratios, like a measure of weight or a percentage. Reliable quantitative data has more precision, leading to more defensible results (e.g., there are two plants per square foot). Quantitative data can be used... Read More >
How to Do a 30 Second “Elevator Pitch” when Everything Your Company Does is CONFIDENTIAL photo

How to Do a 30 Second “Elevator Pitch” when Everything Your Company Does is CONFIDENTIAL

by Lew Wilks, 7/26/18

Businesses are often faced with the challenge of doing a concise value proposition, commonly referred to as the “elevator pitch”.  This is especially true for start-ups!  Fairly often for companies who deal with highly confidential technologies and market data, even the basic value proposition has to remain somewhat veiled because disclosure can compromise the integrity of the model, the value of the design or the secrecy and protection of the users and stakeholders. First, never underestimate the power and importance of intrigue as a value unto itself.  I have found most people want access to something that others cannot obtain.  By... Read More >
People Lie, but Data Does Not photo

People Lie, but Data Does Not

by Mark Nassi, 7/11/18

If there’s one thing that drives me nuts about parenting, it’s lies. Me: Who left one spoonful of ice cream in the container? Kids: Wasn’t me Me: Who was using my tablet? I know I wasn’t playing Fortnite. Kids: Wasn’t me Me: Where did you get all those packets of sugar that are now empty and on the floor in your room? Kids: What sugar? I feel like I’m constantly saying to them, “Just tell me the truth. It’s far worse to tell me a lie than to tell me you wanted to play video games, so you snuck to the basement.” But this hasn't made a... Read More >
Founder’s Corner: What’s in a Name? photo

Founder’s Corner: What’s in a Name?

by Adam Crabtree, 7/6/18

What’s in a name? Over 400 years ago, William Shakespeare posed this question in his romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.”  He followed up that question with the proclamation that a rose, by any other name, would still, in fact, smell the exact same. I’m paraphrasing, of course.  “But Adam,” you might be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with NCS?” Our name is the issue at hand. As we have grown, expanded and evolved as a company Nationwide Compliance Specialists just doesn’t really “fit” us anymore. As we grew, I caught myself more and more shortening it to just “NCS,”... Read More >
Founder’s Corner: the Standard Introduction photo

Founder’s Corner: the Standard Introduction

by Adam Crabtree, 6/27/18

As the title would suggest, the point of this very first blog post isn’t so much to shock, entertain or motivate, but more so I can introduce/warn you about what you can expect here in this new blog series. I would assume that if you have made it this deep into our website you are already familiar with who I am, but on the off chance you aren’t, my name is Adam Crabtree and I am the Founder and CEO of NCS Analytics, or more commonly just NCS. NCS is an an advanced analytics company focused on applying our patent-pending predictive... Read More >
Reports from New Mexico’s seed-to-sale tracking system…. photo

Reports from New Mexico’s seed-to-sale tracking system….

by Adam Crabtree, 5/26/17

Why is a compliance component necessary, along with seed-to-sale tracking? At NCS Analytics (NCS) we use our proprietary advanced analytics tool to identify concerning trends in real-time, catch bad actors, keep communities safe, and identify sustainable solutions to ensure clients are both compliant and protected. Not to mention – compliance efforts also help states capture revenue. It’s not about being “for” or “against” legalization – it’s about ensuring states and local governments are advised on best practice. Yes, the differences flagged in the seed-to-sale tracking system could be simple mistakes; however, without proper data analytics, we’ll continue to see discrepancies like these plaguing... Read More >
Provided the bill passes, Vermont will be the third state in the northeast to pass marijuana legalization photo

Provided the bill passes, Vermont will be the third state in the northeast to pass marijuana legalization

by Adam Crabtree, 5/17/17

Nationwide Compliance Specialists (NCS) has an unparalleled understanding of the ins and outs of the legalization process. As lawmakers, like those in the Green Mountain State, work on legislation tied to marijuana legalization, it is NCS’ primary goal to use our proprietary advanced analytics tool to: Assist in compliance Support auditors/enforcement agents in catching fraud and concerning trends Help states capture revenue NCS is comprised of a team of cannabis experts – from the compliance, banking, and enforcement realms – who, to be clear, are neither for nor against legalization. It is, however, the opinion of NCS that if legalization is going to move... Read More >