True Leaf Medicine International Ltd (CNSX:MJ) Rebranding True Hemp Pet Products
True Leaf Medicine International Ltd (CNSX:MJ) (OTCMKTS:TRLFF) (FRA:TLA) is a pet wellness company producing hemp-based products. CEO Darcy Bomford explains that True Leaf’s brand, True Hemp, is in approximately 3000 stores globally. True Leaf products have a hemp seed base formulation and the company adds additional active ingredients to create its innovative line. Bomford explains 30 percent of pet owners don’t know about hemp products for animals. As a result, True Leaf is in the process of rebranding its product offerings and its educational messaging. The rebrand will launch in March and in addition to its products designed to meet specific pet needs, True Leaf will be launching CBD pet products in the US this summer.
Narrator: True Leaf is a global cannabis and hemp wellness brand for pets. Founded in 2013, the company has two main operating divisions: True Leaf Medicine Inc. and True Leaf Pet Inc. True Leaf Medicine Inc. was launched in July 2013 to become a licensed producer of Federally-approved medicinal cannabis for the Canadian market. Established in 2015, True Leaf Pet Inc. markets hemp-based products for pets worldwide: True Hemp chews, dental sticks and supplement oils are sold in more than 1800 stores across North America and Europe.
True Leaf trades on the CSE under the symbol MJ.
Benjamin A. Smith: Now, I’m in studio with a very special guest: I’m with Darcy Bomford from True Leaf Medicine International. Darcy, welcome to the program.
Darcy Bomford: Pleasure to be here.
Benjamin A. Smith: Can you give us just a general recap with what your company does, for those who may not be familiar with what you do?
Darcy Bomford: For sure, yeah. Like, I came from the pet industry and have 30 years’ experience there, and exited in 2012. Was an early applicant in the Canadian medicinal cannabis space in 2013, formed a little private company, took it public, and ended up in the queue for a license. Getting close to getting a license. But in 2015, we did a pivot into the pet space, and launched True Leaf Pet, and that is now the focus of our company is basically cannabis for pets on a global scale.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay. Do you have any brands in major retailers right now?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah, for sure. Our pet product brand is called True Hemp, right. We’re in over 3,000 stores globally, so we’re in North America – Canada/US – and throughout Europe as well.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay, and what are the primary cannabinoids that go into that product? It’s my understanding that dogs do not respond well to THC, so I’m assuming that this is not a THC-based product, correct?
Darcy Bomford: That’s correct, yeah. We had a different road to market: we started with hemp seed-based formulas, so it would be the same type of hemp seed you’d find at Whole Foods or in a health food store. Canada is the Number Two supplier globally, actually, of hemp seed, so we started with that as a base for the formulations. And hemp seed is legal globally, right? It’s legal in Canada, legal in every state in the US and in Europe. And we added some other active ingredients to support the use of the hemp, initially. But yeah, we don’t have any THC in the product for dogs, which of course is a controlled substance, and in the US and Canada; no CBD either.
Benjamin A. Smith: No CBD? Okay, that was my next question. So it’s just pure protein basically from the hemp fibre and hemp seeds?
Darcy Bomford: Well, no, Omega, there’s a high Omega-3 content in hemp seed.
Benjamin A. Smith: Right.
Darcy Bomford: There’s Omega-3, there’s also in the hemp seed protein fibre, fat, and protein as well.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay. So obviously, dogs respond to that, you know, like they would any other protein, perhaps even better or on par with, say, what you’d get with chicken or chicken-based products?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah, we use a blend of ingredients as a foundation for the product, right? But hemp seed oil, hemp seed protein, is one of the active ingredients, and then we have three different formulations for different indications, right? One for older dogs, one for calming, and one for basic Omega-3 support.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay. Now, I noticed some of the Tier 1s, like Canopy Growth and, I believe, Aurora Cannabis, has a division that’s focusing on the pet care industry as well. Are you sort of rubbing shoulders with the big LPs as of right now, or are you sort of, you’re ship sort of taking you in different directions; it might inevitably converge, but not yet. Are you sort of doing your own thing right now, or are you experiencing some sort of complication from the other LPs?
Darcy Bomford: Not really, we’re taking a different tack. A lot of the other companies in the space are going the pharma route, right? So they’re trying to basically patent a molecule, whereas we’re taking the more natural, nutraceutical route, so developing a nutraceutical supplement line to be sold over the counter.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay. So you have a differentiator in that regard?
Darcy Bomford: That’s correct, yeah.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay. Switching over to the capital markets side, I know recently you approved the re-pricing of 2.35 million warrants, expiring in late May. Can you tell us more about that, and, you know, what sort of repercussions that had to your stock and to your, you know, to your operational, you know, financial management?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah. It hasn’t seemed to have affected the stock price that negatively, right? We were raising money last year, and we’re in capital raise mode right now. The markets are down a little bit, but so far there’s been no negative effect on the stock, and we hope to exercise some of those warrant over the next couple of months. They were going to expire in May, so we just tightened it up a bit and lowered the price to give some incentive.
Benjamin A. Smith: Terrific. Now, you have a new Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Her name is Jodi Watson. Can you tell us a little bit more about what she brings to the table, how she complements your business structure, and does this, you know, kind of leadership boost your platform to the next level?
Darcy Bomford: For sure, yeah. I mean, we like to say that we invest in people, and we’re very focused on bringing the best people to our team. Thrilled to have Jodi on our Board. She’s a former VP of, I think, marketing at Petco.
Benjamin A. Smith: Okay, so she’s from the industry?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah, yeah, she’s from the industry, and she was really focused on the direct to consumer model at Petco, and then she left, I believe, last year, and she’s bringing some of those talents and skills and industry experience to our Board, which is fantastic.
Benjamin A. Smith: Terrific.
Darcy Bomford: Yeah.
Benjamin A. Smith: So it seems like you’re kind of hitting your stride as a company. You know, there’s obviously, you know, it’s a journey, not a process. But is there anything on the horizon for your company going forward? What do investors have to look forward to in the next, say, two, three quarters?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah, for sure. Well, we’re heavily invested in the product line, and we contracted a global branding firm out of Vancouver last year to take a look at our product line, fine-tune the messaging, and we’re launching a re-branded product line in March at a global pet industry show in Florida.
Benjamin A. Smith: Were there any significant changes needed, or was it just sort of a tweak –
Darcy Bomford: A little bit. Actually, you know what we did? It was very interesting. We did a consumer research piece, we went to the market with 1,000 consumers and showed them our existing line and some competitive set, and the research that came back is actually driving this new re-brand, right? So we had some very interesting findings, and one of them actually was that 30 percent of all the people that buy pet treats are completely unaware of hemp or cannabis, right? So when you’re in –
Benjamin A. Smith: Oh, they are? So they’re just picking food off the shelf saying ‘I need this’ and looking at prices, and they don’t even know what’s actually…
Darcy Bomford: They don’t even know about it, right? And when you’re in the space and that’s what you see every day, you tend to think, well, everybody knows about it, right? But education is a key part of the success of the line, and that’s part of our messaging with the new packaging and rebrand, and it’s going to be great. We’ve had fantastic reactions to it so far.
Benjamin A. Smith: Do you have any ancillary outreach programs to go along with that, or is it all, you know, any marketing campaigns that’s going to reach out to a wider audience, say online or social media?
Darcy Bomford: Yeah, for sure. Leading up to the show, which is just around the corner, we do have some press releases that are going to launch the brand – kind of a sneak peek at the new logo and look and feel of the product. For sure, so, new booth, right, so we’re pretty excited about it. We have some more people coming to the show in Florida, and after that we’ll be launching another formulation in the summer, which is basically a hemp leaf-based formulation. So we’re going into that sort of CBD category in the US.
Benjamin A. Smith: All right, terrific. Well, thanks for stopping by in studio. It was a great introduction, at least for me, to your company, and I’ll definitely be looking at your further press releases as you progress.
Darcy Bomford: For sure. Thanks for having me.
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