Maik Pietrowski is a Polish entrepreneur, libertarian activist, and cannabis producer in Switzerland. He’s the co-founder of MSL Industries and Cannerald. A major player in the market, he’s also chosen to use the blockchain as a means of funding the project further. 71 Republic’s Daniel Szewc interviewed Pietrowski about his project and how it may affect the future of the cannabis industry in Europe.
DS: How did you come up with the idea of starting Cannerald?
MK: Severin, my business partner’s brother, likes to consume cannabis and they were on holiday together on the West Coast of the United States in 2017. There, Severin was in contact with some people who have their own cannabis shops or grow it themselves.
He was so impressed that after completing his racing career, he finally found something that he enjoyed and that he can earn money with. The idea pleased my business partner Sascha and me so much that we immediately worked on a suitable name and a logo for our company. After we worked out the concept for Cannerald, we realized the company’s potential. The thought of growing cannabis really got me excited because cannabis is a consumer product and I had heard of its beneficial effects on human health several years ago but did not pursue it at the time.
Secondly, it is a consumer product that you can sell consistently to anyone with any currency worldwide, so you can survive as a company even in times of crisis and remain profitable. In my opinion, it appeals to all groups of people; people use it as a lifestyle product or for health reasons, with health inefficiencies likely to affect everyone sooner or later. After a short research I noticed how pointless and harmful from the health point the cannabis prohibition is and as a member of the political party KORWiN, I love freedom itself anyway and I am of the opinion that every human being is responsible for himself and his own body and does not need paternalism from whoever thinks they can manage one’s life better than he can himself.
The third point, which is an absolutely personal reason, was the goal finally to create something of my own and offer something new. I’ve tried a lot in my life and I think I’ve had some important experiences for my age, learned from my own mistakes, and seen and analyzed the problems of other companies from the point of view of the employee, freelancer, management member, and even founder.
DS: Could you explain your business model to us? You market as a producer of medical cannabis only, correct?
MK: We have been growing cannabis since 2017. At first, it was less professional, but gradually we increased and finally reached this level, which is not yet common in Europe.
However, from the start, it was also clear to us that our Swiss facility, even at the highest level, will not be enough to play in the game with the Big Boys. Since we have already invested millions in equity capital, our private financial leeway for further investments in Switzerland and other countries has also been limited.
Many of us in the company see the ever-shrinking freedom and limitations in many areas of everyday life and are big believers in cryptocurrencies. So we came up with the idea to stimulate people’s thinking a bit and to connect the so much hated and combated cannabis of some governments, organizations, and individuals with the cryptocurrencies which many governments and banks also oppose. At the same time, this was the best solution for our concept of assigning the plant to the respective token owners and create our Token project CannerGrow.
If you have 100 tokens, you can deposit them in the back office of your CannerGrow account and participate in the resulting profits of the plant. 50% of the profits go to the token owner and the remaining percentages are split between the affiliate program and the company.
You can then sell the tokens on an exchange. The new owner of the tokens, as long as he has deposited them in the back office, is participating in the profits from the time he deposits the tokens in his own back office on the CannerGrow page. As many of the company’s shareholders were in sales, including myself, we opted for an MLM system.
I started in multi-level marketing for insurance in 2014. Followed by the sale of vacuum cleaners and then the online marketing with various networks, I have gained a lot of experience. This distribution type of a community in the form of affiliates, we find most efficiently and has in our opinion excellent enforced and a better advertising than a superb product, and mouth-to-mouth propaganda does not exist.
DS: How do you imagine business in the EU could improve? What regulations hurt you the most?
MK: In the EU, freedom is very limited. As I mentioned, adults are often patronized and the problem is that many have internalized this thinking so much that they find it normal to even ban things, even when it merely affects their own bodies.
There is no logical argument against the complete legalization of cannabis with a high percentage of THC content. I mean, alcohol with 99% alcohol or alcoholic perfumes are also allowed and people drink these.
People get drunk on alcohol and get behind the steering wheel and overrun people under the influence of alcohol, although that’s not allowed.
I do not want to endorse that, of course, but I will say prohibitions do not work. Cannabis with a high percentage of THC content is not tolerated and even prosecuted in many EU countries. Nevertheless, people have easy access to this remedy and that’s not a bad thing because it’s about their own body. Thus, the legal situation and restriction of cannabis in the EU market is a big problem.
On the other hand, we live under the socialist EU laws and in a planned economy, which enormously weakens the development and progress in the market and makes a healthy competition as good as impossible.
You have to apply for licenses in different countries which are very limited and very expensive.
As a result, in many cases, it is unfortunately not possible for the market to decide what is good or not good, as is customary in capitalism. But from the beginning, competition is severely handicapped by licenses, costs, bureaucracy and other things. Of course we have to play this game, even if I shake my head every time I face these ridiculous procedures. For the future, we are very well positioned. Our core team and our consultants and lawyers span several countries; we find ourselves improving and growing each day.
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