The pioneering team behind Pineapple Express, led by visionary CEO, Chairman and Co-founder Matthew Feinstein, are certainly ambitious when it comes to re-branding the cannabis industry. Cannabusiness.com was fortunate enough to learn a bit more about their plans from the man himself:

Can you first tell us bit about the background and formation of your company? Would you say you’re taking a unique approach to the cannabis industry?

The team at Pineapple Express features some of the canna-industry’s most informed and personally experienced visionaries and investors in the business. Since 2009, our team has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs through Pineapple Express’ subsidiary MJ Business Consultants, and through other businesses within the cannabis industry. We began MJ Business Consultants in January of this year. In August, we entered into a share exchange with a public company and MJ Business Consultants became a wholly owned subsidiary of that company. That public company ceased its prior business operations, and in September, we changed the name of the company to Pineapple Express, Inc. [OTC Pink: PNPL].
In our previous canna-businesses, we spent most of our time assisting entrepreneurs obtain cannabis licenses. Many times this was a very lengthy and costly process. Now, in 2015; many cities and states have now gone through the arduous licensing processes, and we are now able to form relationships and infuse capital into canna-business that already have these coveted licenses. The unique approach is that we can spend less time working on the licensing, and more growing their businesses.

What type of businesses and professionals are you looking to form partnerships with, and in which sectors and regions? What range of B2B products and services do you provide?

We are looking for “diamonds-in the rough” canna-businesses that are almost or already properly licensed. New and existing canna-businesses that have strong leaders who we can work with in order to turn their canna-businesses into the “diamonds” that they can and should be.
We provide new and existing canna-businesses with policy and procedure guidance, branding, marketing, and assistance with their short term and long term growth. We also assist canna-business owners by supporting them in achieving the best possible experience for their patients and customers.

It seems you’ve focused on creating a striking and recognisable brand; the name Pineapple Express in certainly synonymous with cannabis culture. Do you see your brand becoming synonymous with cannabis business?

We do. Pineapple Express is synonymous with the cannabis culture as one of the most popular strains. If you look up the term in Wikipedia, you will also see that it is ” a non-technical term for a meteorological phenomenon characterized by a strong and persistent flow of atmospheric moisture and associated with heavy precipitation from the waters adjacent to the Hawaiian Islands and extending to any location along the Pacific coast of North America”. In December of last year, when trying to think of names for a new company, a big Pineapple Express storm hit Los Angeles. Hearing about it on the TV news every night helped me come up with the name. We want to be seen as the phenomenon that takes the cannabis industry by storm. The pineapple is also synonymous with hospitality. Many times, you will see a pineapple design on a welcome mat or lamp post when entering a home, especially deep in the south. Pineapple Express stores are poised to be extremely welcoming and hospitable.

You intend to create a nationally branded chain of retail stores. Have you set out a particular strategy to achieve this?

Yes. Currently, we are infusing capital into and partnering up with new and existing businesses that will all be “Powered by Pineapple Express”. Similar to how a hotel group like the Four Seasons Hotels may manage different independent hotels. I see us as the Starbucks of the cannabis industry. One year there were mom and pop coffee shops all over, then you open your eyes the following year and they all turned into Starbucks. I would like to see this happen with Pineapple Express when the federal government decides to condone marijuana sales…that will also hopefully be the day when people will wake up and see Pineapple Express signs and banners in front of all of their favorite cannabis dispensaries and stores, as well as new ones.

Your recent collaboration with the McBride Company has created some striking concepts in dispensary design. Do you feel there’s anything lacking in current cannabis retail environments? How important to the image of the industry are these environments?

Thank you! I come from the video industry and have the experience of rolling out a chain of over 300 stores. What I learned from that industry was that people gravitate towards stores with great design, amazing customer service, and incredible brand recognition. We want to bring this same philosophy to the cannabis industry by assisting with the modernization of it. We look to “pineapple-ize” the stores that we infuse capital into, as well as open up new stores with the same concepts.
I have always been very impressed by Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville restaurants, hotels, and casinos. When you walk into one of them you get one of the best consumer experiences ever. I have always wanted to create a theme like this to modernize cannabis stores. I decided to call on McBride Design to assist us with the consumer experience and design concepts for our future stores. They knocked our socks off with the design elements and branding that they came up with, and I cannot wait to start incorporating some of these elements into existing locations and into new dispensaries and recreational retail stores.

Do you see legislative issues having an impact on your operations? Are there other challenges that you anticipate having to overcome?

Yes I do. There are many states with initiatives that are proposed or scheduled to be on the November 2016 ballots, including California. I see a sort of renaissance happening within our industry, even bigger than when we witnessed Colorado getting all of the attention that it got when it was the first State to go recreational. Since it is a Presidential election in November 2016, it means that more people will be going out to the polls to vote, and more younger people will be coming out to vote, too. That is good for our industry! I think most of the good cannabis initiatives will pass next year, because of this.

Why did you decide to become a publicly traded company? Was this a difficult decision?

We decided to become publicly traded in order to open up access to accredited investors who can infuse the company with capital.
The decision was not difficult at all. I believe we also have a stronger corporate presence as a public company. Since we are all from the cannabis industry, we know which business models work and which ones can be most fruitful. We are able to start on the right foot, and we have. People are going to be extremely impressed with our model.

What makes Pineapple Express stand out, from an investment point of view?

Pineapple Express is an equity fund that invests in tenant relationships within the industry as well as assisting operators in consulting, branding, marketing, and store design elements that are part of our concept. This may include investments into infrastructures of talented operators within the industry that net the company recurring revenue through consulting and royalties tied to our proprietary technology, knowledge, and design elements. We are truly a picks and shovels company in the new green rush.
We also will be exclusively offering our Patent-Pending “Top-Shelf” System for Marijuana Dispensaries beginning in the first quarter of next year. This is a Unique invention that combines 4 critical components required of canna-businesses and offers “real-time” inventory tracking and increased security. The patent-pending Top-Shelf Display Safe System exclusively developed for the Company by one of our founders, converts four critical components of the current dispensary model and combines them into a single, technologically advanced, and stylish unit. The system allows for a dispensary operator to:
• Safely and attractively display cannabis products
• Secure all products in an armored exterior safe with interior locked compartments
• Weigh all products in real-time using dozens of electronic scales housed in the locked compartments within the unit that are automatically unlocked as transactions occur at the integrated point-of-sale software
• Transmit real-time inventory data to the integrated point-of-sale and inventory management system
• Authenticate transactions to consumers for legal compliance and record-keeping purposes
The Top Shelf System is truly something that helps us stand out from all other companies.