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PRESS

The latest updates from The Movement Management Advisor's client engagement.

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COOKIES - SR HOLDINGS LAUNCH THE FIRST LEMONNADE DISPENSARY IN COLORADO

 

DENVER, JULY 31, 2021

 

African American owned Cannabis holding company, SR Holdings, based in Denver Colorado is making history with the first and only high-end Lemonnade dispensary in the state. The Cannabis holding company holds multiple cannabis assets across the Colorado market from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, to their recently opened Lemonnade dispensary in the Rhino District of Denver. Today, the high-end Lemonnade dispensary welcomed top patrons and special guests at their grand opening. The highlight of the opening was the Ribbon Cutting ceremony by Governor Jared Polis. The COOKIES and SR Holdings partnership has been able to work with the Governor in supporting their collective vision of Social Equality in the Cannabis industry.

“The COOKIES team has been intimately involved in working with Dash, Sherard and their team on strategizing our Colorado expansion since the inception or us entering the market,” said Parker Berling, president of COOKIES, Inc. “We are proud to partner with a local partner whose core values align with our Social and Economic mission” said Berling.

 

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“This is just the beginning of what will be a historical partnership in breaking the invisible glass ceiling for men and women of color, owners, operators and employees in this industry,” said Dash, Partner, The Movement Advisors.

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THE MOVEMENT ADVISORS SECURES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SR HOLDINGS AND GLOBAL LEADING CANNABIS BRAND COOKIES

WILL LAUNCH A SERIES OF COOKIES AND LEMONNADE BRANDED DISPENSARIES IN THE COLORADO MARKET

 

MARCH 2021

 

SR Holdings, a leading African American owned Denver based Cannabis holding company, has assets across the Colorado market ranging from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and the Denver markets. Together with international cannabis lifestyle brand COOKIES, the two entities are planting roots in the country's oldest recreational cannabis market with the launch of its first Colorado Lemonnade retail locations and an expansion of the COOKIES branded locations. COOKIES is humbled and excited to join SR Holdings as an African American pioneer in the Denver cannabis community.

“This partnership between the COOKIES brand and SR Holdings is a living example of the Berners commitment to building with entrepreneurs that reflect the company’s values of inclusion and equality,” said Dash, Partner, The Movement Advisors.

“Bringing together the COOKIES team with our existing opportunities and assets on the ground in the State is a game changer for our company!” said Sherard Rogers, Founder and CEO of SR Holdings. “This will greatly impact our ability to go deeper and wider in our never-ending commitment to providing jobs and growth opportunities to men and women of color in the Colorado market,” said Rogers.

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SR HOLDINGS RETAINS THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS

 

DENVER OCTOBER 2020

 

The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Dash, today announced that the firm had been retained to provide strategic and business development services to SR Holdings Company. The Movement Advisors will focus on developing a long-term strategy and strategic partnerships for the SR Holding portfolio of Retail, Cultivation and Processing assets.

SR Holdings is a leading African American owned Cannabis holding company based in Denver, Colorado. With assets across the Colorado market ranging from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and the Denver markets SR holdings is led by its founder Sherard Rogers.

“As one of less than a statewide total of five African American red badge owners Sherard Rogers has been breaking through the invisible glass ceiling in the Cannabis industry.” said Dash, Partner, The Movement Advisors. “Sherard is a shining light for the rest of the Cannabis industry to focus on. He has positioned himself as a unique alternative for both consumers and the next generation of Minority entrepreneurs to focus toward. Developing his long-term strategic plan and building world class partnerships for his portfolio of assets is going to a fun and challenging adventure for our entire firm!” said Dash.

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QUALITY CONTROL RETAINS THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS

 

ATLANTA, DECEMBER  2019

 

Today, The Movement Management Advisors announced that the strategic advisory firm, led by Dash, has been retained to provide strategic planning, capital market preparation and corporate restructuring services to Pierre Thomas and Kevin Lee, founders of music industry titan Quality Control Music. The Movement Advisors will focus on developing a long-term corporate strategic plan, development of capital market relationships with institutional investors, and developing operational and internal financial best practices and policies. Dash will lead the assignment as CFO and Head of Global Strategy for the company during his assignment.  

“Coach and P have built QC Music into one of the most important cultural businesses platforms in the world,” said Dash. “I am proud and excited to assist them in executing their vision of expanding QC beyond music and into a global media company.”

“We are very excited to have Dash join us on our journey and help us execute our vision for our business. Together we will take Quality Control to new heights”, said Kevin “Coach K” Lee.

“What we’ve built is bigger than music; we are so much more.” said Pierre “Pee” Thomas.  “Together, with Dash to advise and guide us we are going to take QC to the level of global domination!”

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DARIEN DASH IS A FEATURED PANELIST AT THE 2019 ADVERTISING WEEK CANNABUSINESS TRACK CONFERENCE, CURATED BY FUTURE STATE BRANDS

NEW YORK SEPTEMBER 25, 2019  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that Darien Dash was a featured panelist at the Advertising Week Cannabis, Social Justice, and Diversity panel, held on September 26, 2019 in Manhattan, New York.   Cannabusiness Track was the latest Advertising Week Experience, the proprietary conference collaboration between Future State Brands and Advertising Week geared towards brand marketers, designed to separate the hype from the real conversation around the latest marketing trends.   The conference speakers were curated by Future State Brands, the premier online destination for modern cannabis enthusiasts.

Darien Dash is among the first to identify and act upon the substantial long-term commercial potential of the legal cannabis industry, having structured and advised several leading Cannabis funds and consumer-facing brands. Mr. Dash has participated in the acquisition over a dozen licenses in the processing, cultivation, and retail verticals in California, Colorado, and Oregon. He continues his involvement by advising several leading MSO brands as they chart their course ahead toward national consolidation of THC operations and migrate their brand strategies from THC to CBD and beyond.   His remarks at the Advertising Week conference focused on the current and future trends in the industry and what Dash is predicting to be a major intersection of Urban Culture, Multi State Operators, existing Consumer Packaged Goods companies and new and evolving Cannabis molecules like CBG in the coming 2019 “Croptober” harvest and the impact this will all have on the 2020 Fiscal Year. 

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DARIEN DASH APPOINTED TO THE JACK BREWER FOUNDATION'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

 

NEW YORK, NY SEPTEMBER 9, 2019- The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that Darien Dash has been appointed to the Jack Brewer Foundation’s Board of Directors.  

The Jack Brewer Foundation (JBF Worldwide), founded in 2006 by the former team captain of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, focuses on the empowerment of women and children living within impoverished and underdeveloped communities through the implementation of initiatives that enable food security; provide access to educational resources; assist in disaster relief and medical aid; and promote cultural exchange, peace and conflict resolution.

 “Darien is one of my closest mentors in business and life,” said Jack Brewer.“He’s the first call that I make when I am trying to find a solution, and he gets it done!”

“Jack Brewer is my hero, he’s one of the most caring and dedicated human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and working alongside,” said Darien Dash, Partner, the Movement Advisors.“I am humbled and honored to be a part of this most important mission JBF Worldwide is in pursuit of.”

In addition to the Jack Brewer Foundation, Darien Dash also serves as a Director of 414 Media Advisors, The Movement Management Group, Ounce Water, Dunkin Donuts Franchise Growth Partners, 414 Media Advisors and is a former board member of the National Urban League and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, University of Southern California New York Regional Alumni among others.

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DARIEN DASH JOINS BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MIKEY LIKES IT ICE CREAM, HIS MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS RETAINED TO REENGINEER OPERATIONS AND CAPITAL STRUCTURE, RAISE CAPITAL, EXPAND DISTRIBUTION

NEW YORK, NY  AUGUST 13, 2019-   The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that The Movement Management Advisors has been retained by Mikey Likes It, the world’s pop-culture inspired ice cream brand, and also that Darien Dash has joined the company’s board.

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream is homemade, artisan, organic and all natural, made in small batches to preserve optimal freshness.  Founded and owned by Michael “Mikey” Cole, a master at flavor and texture who has created custom ice cream flavors for notables like Hillary Clinton and Jay-Z, and garnered national coverage from leading publications including The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Essence and New York Magazine.  He’s also been featured on The Food Network’s, The Kitchen, and is a regular on CBS's hit show That Other Pregame Show. The company currently has retail stores in Harlem and the lower east side, two of New York City’s most iconic districts.

The Movement Management Advisors is assisting the company through a strategic

re-engineering of its operations and capital structure, arranging a round of financing to support company expansion, and the development of a strategic plan to expand its retail footprint from two to over thirty stores nationwide through franchising.

 “Darien Dash brings everything our business needs in order to grow quickly to the table,” said Michael Cole, founder and owner of Mikey Likes It Ice Cream. “He has a thorough understanding of what it takes to establish a strong brand in our target market, how to finance it, and how to run it. He’s as well connected as anyone I’ve ever met in my career to drive our expansion into all the cities that matter, giving us the national footprint, we deserve.”

“I am truly flattered that Michael has chosen our firm to work with him on the expansion of the truly Iconic Brand he has built with Mikey Likes It Ice Cream!” said Darien Dash. “Michael is an amazing curator of Flavor, Texture, and Culture as well as a special human being. It’s my honor to work with him toward achieving his dream of bringing smiles across the nation and the world with the Mikey Likes It Ice Cream Experience.”

DARIEN DASH AND HIS STRATEGIC ADVISORY FIRM THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS PARTNER WITH LUXURY ASSET CAPITAL

NEW YORK, NY JULY 5, 2019-  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that the firm had established a partnership with Luxury Asset Capital. Through the partnership, The Movement Management Advisors will incorporate Luxury Asset Capital’s collateralized financing offerings into its range of financing strategies and solutions, with a particular focus on providing short-term capital liquidity to athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs.

Luxury Asset Capital is a private, family-office-owned lender to high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs in need of capital for business or personal use. Its Sports & Entertainment Group works exclusively with athletes, entertainers, and their trusted advisors to provide short term capital from approximately $75,000 to $5 million in a few days using a professional athlete’s or entertainer’s luxury assets as collateral.

 “Dewey Burke is an amazing leader and partner that represents the highest level of integrity in the lending industry," said Darien Dash, Partner, the Movement Advisors.“LAC is filling a truly important void in the marketplace for clients that need liquidity quickly and reliably to fund post career entrepreneurial opportunities that they wish to pursue. We are excited about the future of working with Dewey and the entire LAC team.” 

“Darien Dash is among the best known, widely connected, and most trusted advisors and deal makers in the sports and entertainment industries today due to his unparalleled reputation for spotting opportunities, solving problems and getting things done,”said Dewey Burke, Founder and CEO of Luxury Asset Capital.  “Dash has significant experience dealing with the opportunities and challenges that arise in the personal and professional lives of highly successful people, and I have no doubt that our solutions will bring additional value to his clients.”

DARIEN DASH IS A FEATURED PANELIST AT THE LOEB.NYC AND BONIN VENTURES 'POT OR NOT' CONFERENCE, CURATED BY PRØHBTD

 

NEW YORK, NY JUNE 3, 2019  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that Darien Dash was a featured panelist at the Pot or Not Conference, held on May 31, 2019 in Southampton, New York. Pot or Not was the latest Pot Or Not Experience, the proprietary conference collaboration between Loeb.nyc and Bonin Ventures geared towards brand marketers, designed to separate the hype from the real conversation around the latest marketing trends. The conference speakers were curated by PRØHBTD, the premier online destination for modern cannabis enthusiasts.

Darien Dash is among the first to identify and act upon the substantial long-term commercial potential of the legal cannabis industry, having structured and advised several leading Cannabis funds and consumer-facing brands. Mr. Dash has participated in the acquisition for over a dozen licenses in the processing, cultivation, and retail verticals in California, Colorado, and Oregon. He continues his involvement by advising several leading MSO brands as they chart their course ahead toward national consolidation of THC operations and migrate their brand strategies from THC to CBD and beyond. His remarks at the Pot or Not conference focused on the current and future trends in the industry and what Dash is predicting to be a major intersection of Urban Culture, Multi State Operators, existing Consumer Packaged Goods companies and new and evolving Cannabis molecules like CBG in the coming 2019 “Croptober” harvest and the impact this will all have on the 2020 Fiscal Year. 

DARIEN DASH ADVISES KAREEM BIGGS BURKE'S BOLO MEDIA ON PARTNERSHIP WITH VALENCE MEDIA 

NEW YORK, NY FEBRUARY 21, 2019 - The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that it was the strategic advisor to Kareem “Biggs” Burke and his Bolo Media on the exclusive production partnership recently announced with Valence Media. The partnership will focus on a range of TV and film projects which will be announced in the coming months. 

Darien Dash and the Movement Management Advisors team had the lead role in structuring the terms of the partnership and is responsible for managing the day-to-day business affairs with Valence, Media Rights Capital, Dick Clark Productions and other content partners.The firm had previously been retained by Kareem Biggs Burke to identify and develop strategic relationships and partnerships to support his music and entertainment industry endeavors.

Kareem “Biggs” Burke, is the co-founder of Roc-a-Fella records, which was sold to Universal Music in 2005, and a series of follow-on companies including Roc-A-Wear clothing, Roc Sports, Armadale Vodka and Roc Films. Most recently he has established Bolo Media and Circle of Success Management as his new enterprises in the film and television and talent management industries, respectively.

 “Darien Dash knows the media and entertainment world as well as anyone, and is one of my most trusted advisors,” said Kareem Burke. “His involvement in structuring and managing our partnership with Valence has been invaluable to having it come together as well as it has, and putting it on a path to achieve great things.”“I am proud to be working with the Biggs and the entire BOLO / Valence Media family,” said Dash.“These are truly exciting times in the Media Industry and to have the opportunity to work with my friend and brother toward his goals is truly a Blessing." 

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DARIEN DASH AND THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS AND 41 MEDIA ADVISORS COLLABORATION YIELDS $10 MILLION IN CAPITAL FOR AFROPUNK 

 

NEW YORK, NY AUGUST 2018-  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced the firm’s successful collaboration with 414 Media Advisors LLC to raise $10 million in capital for AFROPUNK . The financing project was led by Corey Martin of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, 414 Media Advisors’ parent company, and Darien Dash.

AFROPUNK was founded in 2002 to give a voice to thousands of multicultural kids considered outsiders in their communities. Today, the notion of AFROPUNK has evolved and comprises a particular force within greater youth culture.  Afropunkers are creative, expressive people who speak through music, art, film, sports, fashion, photography and more.  The AFROPUNK Festivals in Paris, London, Atlanta, Brooklyn and Johannesburg  are a focal point for the burgeoning AFROPUNK movement and have established its position as a platform for musical artists on-the-verge of hitting it big, such as Grammy-nominated Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, D'Angelo, TV on the Radio, Santigold, and Janelle Monae.

The Movement Management Advisors and 414 Media Advisors are strategic partners that develop strategic plans, identify strategic opportunities and partnerships, and raise capital for companies in the media industry.   Darien Dash is a member of the 414 Media Advisors board of directors. 414 Media Advisors is the business services and investment arm of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, a legendary entertainment law firm established in 1997 with more than a decade of fusing music industry expertise and technological entrepreneurship for clients such as YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Myspace, Viagogo, BitTorrent, Bebo, Last.fm, Vice Media, Rhapsody, Nickelodeon, Afro Punk, Quality Control, Cardi B, The Migos and others.

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DARIEN DASH AND THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS AND 414 MEDIA ADVISORS COLLABORATION YIELDS $5 MILLION IN CAPITAL FOR MACRO MEDIA 

NEW YORK, NY MAY 2018- The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced the firm’s successful collaboration with 414 Media Advisors LLC to raise $5 million in capital for Macro Media.  The financing project was led by Corey Martin of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, 414 Media Advisors’ parent company, and Darien Dash.

Macro Media is a leading authoritative 
media brand representing the voice and perspective
 of persons of color. Macro creates and finances film, television, digital content, technologies and brands which are driven by people of color that encompass universal themes to which all people can connect and relate. Driven by the leadership of seasoned Media, Tech and Venture executives Charles King, Adrian Fenty and Michael Palank, Macro Media brings a unique experience from differentiated fields of media, entertainment, politics, finance and technology.

The Movement Management Advisors and 414 Media Advisors are strategic partners that develop strategic plans, identify strategic opportunities and partnerships, and raise capital for companies in the media industry. Darien Dash is a member of the 414 Media Advisors board of directors. 414 Media Advisors is the business services and investment arm of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, a legendary entertainment law firm established in 1997 with more than a decade of fusing music industry expertise and technological entrepreneurship for clients such as YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Myspace, Viagogo, BitTorrent, Bebo, Last.fm, Vice Media, Rhapsody, Nickelodeon, Afro Punk, Quality Control, Cardi B, The Migos and others.

DARIEN DASH AND THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS AND 414 MEDIA ADVISORS COLLABORATION YIELDS $3 MILLION CAPITAL FOR CASHMERE AGENCY

NEW YORK, NY MARCH 2018- The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced the firm’s successful collaboration with 414 Media Advisors LLC to raise $3 million in capital for Cashmere through an investment by Essence Ventures.   

Established in 2003, the Cashmere Agency is led by its founder and Chairman Ted Chung. Under his direction, the agency designs and executes targeted campaigns to help global brands authentically reach their multicultural millennial consumer. Its diverse client roster includes Snoop Dogg, BMW of North America, Jack in the Box, Google, Adidas, Lyft, Diageo, Beats by Dre, Disney, Marvel, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, FX, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Netflix, Amazon, FOX among others.

Essence Ventures, LLC is an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color. The company began in 2017 and is chaired by its founder and entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, Richelieu Dennis.

The Movement Management Advisors and 414 Media Advisors are strategic partners that develop strategic plans, identify strategic opportunities and partnerships, and raise capital for companies in the media industry. Darien Dash is a member of the 414 Media Advisors board of directors. 

414 Media Advisors is the business services and investment arm of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, a legendary entertainment law firm established in 1997 with more than a decade of fusing music industry expertise and technological entrepreneurship for clients such as YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Myspace, Viagogo, BitTorrent, Bebo, Last.fm, Vice Media, Rhapsody, Nickelodeon, Afro Punk, Quality Control, Cardi B, The Migos and others.

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DARIEN DASH RETAINED AS A STRATEGIC ADVISOR BY KAREEM BIGGS BURKE

NEW YORK, NY SEPTEMBER 2017- The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that the firm has been retained by music industry pioneer and legend Kareem “Biggs” Burke to identify and develop strategic relationships and opportunities in the music and media industries, and beyond.

Kareem “Biggs” Burke, is the co-founder of Roc-a-Fella records, which was sold to Universal Music in 2005, and a series of follow-on companies including Roc-A-Wear clothing, Roc Sports, Armadale Vodka and Roc Films.

“It has been several years since I stepped away from direct involvement in the music and entertainment industry and the many great successes I was a part of,”said Kareem Burke. “I’m feeling now that it’s time to reengage, in familiar as well as in new ways, and Darien Dash will be a key advisor to me as I evaluate the options for where I go next.”

“Biggs' genius is evident in his body of work. I’m humbled to be a part of his strategic thought group as he charts his course into the future!” said Darien Dash. “He’s a dear friend and brother to me and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from him over the last few decades of our brotherhood.” 

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DARIEN DASH AND THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS STRUCTURES PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE-OWNED FRANCHISE OWNERSHIP GROUP

 

NEW YORK, NY  November 19, 2016  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that the firm was retained as a strategic advisor to a group of current professional athletes seeking capital appreciation through franchise investing.   

Darien Dash headed The Movement Management Advisors project team in identifying the most suitable franchise opportunities for the group, ultimately leading to the selection of Dunkin' Donuts as the target franchise. Dash and the team structured the ownership group, Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Partners, negotiated the group's purchase agreements and arranged the group’s financing to become partner owners of twelve Dunkin' Donuts stores in the southeastern United States.

“Darien Dash deeply understands the financial opportunities and challenges facing professional athletes today, and that deep understanding enabled him to be immediately effective in structuring Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Partners in a manner that met all of our needs and concerns,” said Pedro Strop, Relief Pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.  “We are set up for growth as successful franchisees, and most importantly, establishing a solid financial foundation for our family's when our playing days are over.”

“Working with Pedro and the rest of the ownership group toward achieving their long-term goal or having an equity stake in the Franchise vertical has been a true pleasure” said Dash, of The Movement Advisors.“The management team and long-term growth potential of the Dunkin' Brand are both the key ingredients that any investor should look toward when considering the Franchise business. We couldn’t be happier with the Dunkin' management team and Brand opportunity that the team has chosen to invest in and with!” 

 

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DARIEN DASH JOINS 414 MEDIA ADVISORS BOARD, ESTABLISHES PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE MOVEMENT MANAGEMENT ADVISORS AND 414 MEDIA ADVISORS

NEW YORK, NY JANUARY 8, 2015 -  The Movement Management Advisors, the strategic advisory firm led by Darien Dash, today announced that the firm has established a strategic partnership with 414 Media Advisors and that Darien Dash would join the 414 Media Advisors board.  Through the partnership, The Movement Management Advisors will work with 414 Media Advisors and its clients to develop strategic plans, identify strategic opportunities and partnerships, and raise capital.

414 Media Advisors, LLC is a digital media and technology consulting firm offering business consulting, strategic partnerships, and connections to investment capital, along with direct access to globally recognized artists and brands. 414 Media Advisors is the business services and investment arm of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, Grabel, Leven, Granderson & Blake, LLP, a legendary entertainment law firm established in 1997 with more than a decade of fusing music industry expertise and technological entrepreneurship for clients such as YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Myspace, Viagogo, BitTorrent, Bebo, Last.fm, Vice Media, Rhapsody, Nickelodeon, Afro Punk, Quality Control, Cardi B, The Migos and others

“The Movement Advisors is widely acknowledged as a pioneer and leader in the strategic advisory and capital market for the Media, Tech and Telecom arena and a great fit for the expertise and connections of the partners at 414 Media Advisors,”said Corey Martin, Partner, 414 Media Advisors.“Corey Martin, Peter Lewitt, Steve Shapiro and Damien Granderson have all earned the respect of the technology, music, and media industries and I am proud to be working alongside them as a collaborator and a board member”said Darien Dash, Partner, The Movement Management Advisors.

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DARIEN DASH- AN EARLY INTERNET MOGUL WHO MADE THE WEB MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL

 

Darien Dash is the CEO and founder of the first black-owned, publicly traded internet company, DME Interactive Holdings.

Dash has consulted the highest levels of government regarding internet illiteracy in minority communities and even testified in front of Congress regarding the “digital divide” between rich and poor. Dash told Congress that urban role models such as rappers P. Diddy and Jay Z must be recruited for inner-city youth to view technology as cool. Dash has also consulted former AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong on the digital divide. At the time, white households were more than twice as likely to have an internet connection than minority households.

 

Dash began his career in the record business at the University of Southern California. While there, he helped secure deals for rap stars, but decided to pursue his Political Science degree rather than drop out for the music industry. After graduation, he worked at the music cable service, Digital Music Express, which offered a separate set-top box for cable and offered 30 channels of high-quality music 24/7. Darien Dash quickly rose to the top of the organization but became frustrated by the fact that the company would not install their cable boxes in lower-income neighborhoods.

“For me, the record business felt like a dead-end street,” Dash told CNN in 2000. “It’s kind of like sports. Twenty million kids start out playing basketball, but only 1,600 of them ever make it to the NBA. The chances are very slim that that will be the way out.”

 

Disappointed that the company had let perceptions of poverty take over their business strategy, Dash left the company in the mid-1990s to start his own business, DME Interactive, which provided business solutions for companies seeking to enter the technological domain. One of Dash’s projects at DME Interactive was to develop Places of Color, an urban-oriented internet service provider that supplied internet, hardware, and applications to urban consumers. By 2000, his six-year-old company boasted a market cap of $20 million, and annual revenue of $500,000. This success came about from his work building websites, developing electronic commerce systems, and offering back-end technical support to minority-owned companies such as Motown Records, HBO Home Video, and Def Jam Records.

Darien Dash’s work, however, did not end there. He decided he would try to get the internet into the hands of minorities regardless of their income. To provide computers and internet access to minorities, he decided to sell preowned computers at the same price as a fancy pair of sneakers, or about $150. These computers offered paid dial-up internet and a full-service internet connectivity portal through the company’s partnership with America Online (AOL). As customers obtained access to the internet, and the technologies expanded, wireless and broadband services were also offered for two-way pagers, web-enabled cellular phones, and pocket PCs.

 

While Dash has stated he doesn’t believe in “digital welfare,” he does feel that he has a commitment to help develop and strengthen the computer infrastructure of minority communities. Part of this work, also, involved donating computers to inner-city schools as both a philanthropic endeavor and a strategy to expand the tech-smart demographic in urban, lower-income areas.

Dash landed a $90 million deal with AOL Compuserve in 2000 to finally develop Places of Color (POC), an online portal to offer news, entertainment, and internet services to urban minorities. AOL opted for a 5% stake in DME Holdings, Dash’s company, and in turn, DME marketed AOL products on the platform. POC was an urban-focused ISP that offered unlimited access to the internet for $19.95/mo for.

These efforts earned Dash the award of 2000 Regional and National Technology Firm of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has also been recognized for his important work by the University of Southern California, KIP Business Report, and Abyssinian Development Corporation.

These early efforts in the dotcom industry reflect a growing need for Silicon Valley to expand and reach out to African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and rural communities who did not have the resources for internet access. Indeed, these services reflected a new, more inclusive business model for the tech industry. Around the turn of the 21st century, corporations were reluctant to bring internet access to the inner cities for fear that it would not be lucrative; however, in doing so, they were missing out on a large, underserved market.

 

How has Dash’s work affected the inner-city and lower-income communities over the past two decades?  Since these early endeavors, companies have started to become more inclusive and offer services to all types of communities. As AT&T’s Steve Lang remarked in 1999, more diverse markets reflect some of the best markets.

 

Sadly, there is more work to be done. A report by the World Economic Forum reveals that nearly 62 million urban Americans (23%) do not have access to broadband internet, which is all but everywhere these days. However, Darien Dash’s efforts to diversify internet connectivity and bring network connectivity to the inner cities has undoubtedly greatly helped minority and rural communities enjoy greater access to the inescapable and ubiquitous world wide web, as well as connected devices in the Internet of Things such as Amazon Alexa, in the 21st-century digital economy.

 

Learn more about Darien Dash:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/darien-dash

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THE FUTURE OF THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY

Cannabis is having a moment, particularly in the development of CBD products for a growing industry. As the CEO of the Movement Management firm, I’ve been tapped into the future of the marijuana industry, representing clients who grow and sell and are branding themselves at the forefront of a green revolution.

I’m uniquely positioned to recognize the trends of a growing industry (pun intended) and, possibly, what the future holds.

Marijuana is easily the most widely used and distributed illicit drug. It’s also currently a schedule 1 drug, which makes it illegal at a federal level. You can’t travel between states even where it’s legal, and you cannot travel internationally with legal weed (even if it’s legal in other countries, such as Canada).

But this hasn’t stopped 33 states from legalizing it for medical use and 10 for recreational.

Several more states are expected to legalize it soon, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Four things are predictive about the future of the cannabis industry. Based on my work over the past several years I think it’s important to evaluate a few considerations of how the industry may soon evolve. The good news is it’s going to do so pretty quickly. The bad news is, it’s going to be complicated.

Cannabis is likely to:

  1. Become legalized nationwide for recreational use

  2. Create millions of jobs and transform multiple industries

  3. Provide an international economic boom.

  4. Potentially face backlash from communities and politicians hell-bent on outdated stereotypes and understanding of “reefer madness.”

 

Legal weed has the potential to positively transform our economy, our culture, and our world.

But it’s unfortunately not a clear path to achieving this change.

Public perception of the illicit drug is shifting faster now more than ever, especially as more is learned regarding medicinal applications.

Marijuana is headed into the mainstream, but exactly how? And when? And what does that look like for investors anxious to get in on the ground floor?

 

The Domino Effect of a Federal Legalization

 

Marijuana has been illegal since the passing of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, effectively creating prohibition for the drug. Unlike the alcohol prohibition which was costly and overturned rather quickly, marijuana’s prohibition period may finally come to an end, and with significant financial benefits.

As marijuana and cannabis continue to see legalization in more states, it’s unlikely that a national legalization won’t be long off. Investors will see benefits before a federal law is enacted. The industry saw a 10.4 billion dollar profits in 2018 and created over 250,000 jobs according to this article in New Frontier Data. But the future for the cannabis industry will rely on the adoption of and success of evolving laws. As the prohibition of the drug is systematically overturned at the state level, the cannabis industry will find it’s new look as a legit business. And will scale at impressive levels. With more and more states adopting legalization, it will be difficult for the U.S. politicians to ignore the potential economic benefits of legal weed. The industry is projected to be worth $57 billion worldwide and create a tax revenue of 17.5 Billion by 2030. As far as what the people want, Americans are primarily in support of marijuana legalization, with 62% in favor, according to Pew Research. This is twice what it was in 2000. In the 1960s, support for legalization was merely 12%.

 

In the Weeds

Even though prohibition has kept marijuana relegated to secret dealings, it’s still very much a present part of American culture. Often associated with hippies of the ’60s and 70’s as the industry reinvents itself, it will be forced to adjust to new regulations. And with great regulations comes great opportunity for a rebranding. Soon marijuana’s look will be less about getting high, and more about medicinal benefits.

But we’re already seeing this growth as dispensaries are showing up in suburban malls across the countries where legal, medical weed is available. Cannabis companies are posting jobs on major online platforms, and advertising and marketing companies are including cannabis companies as part of their strategy. For this industry it always seems as if we’re two steps forward, and one step back. Unfortunately, some states are finding loopholes to ban dispensaries, for example, even when the weed is legal in the state. Proving that there will not be a clear path to follow. The growing pains for this industry steeped in controversy will be vast, but still, the industry is changing and will continue to evolve regardless of future pitfalls.

 

The Social Inequality of Illegal Weed

With continued legalization, politicians will also be forced to recognize the social injustice sustained by the persecution of those who would imbibe in the illicit form of the drug. According to this article in Quartz, marijuana offenses have net 15 million arrests with a disproportionate amount being people of color.

It’s estimated that black residents of New York are eight times more lightly to be arrested for marijuana sales or possession regardless of similar rates of usage among other races. Decriminalization and legalization will help communities beyond a bottom line. It’s highly likely that every 2020 presidential candidate will have something to say about this issue as the success of legalization in states, as well as Canada’s open market, show cracks in the backward thinking of a decades old law.

 

How Federal Legalization of Marijuana Will Impact The Industry

Even with legalization for medicinal use in 33 states, banks are sketchy about wanting to loan to farmers, producers, and companies, forcing cannabis companies to do business in cash.

Big banks are nervous about an unclear threat of legal action if they choose to loan to cannabis companies. This also leads to all cannabis companies being forced to do business entirely in cash.

Banking reform is necessary for the industry to show any kind of legitimate growth. And that will come with legalization. There is good news though, as banks are eager to loan to the companies but only after legal clarity. In fact, the American Bankers’ Association has been lobbying for a clear definition between the state and federal law to remove any grey area. Until then, Big Banks are losing money, being unable to invest in a growing industry. It’s estimated that Marijuana companies raised four times as much as they did in 2017( $13.8 billion in funding in 2018). This trend is expected to continue. Additionally, The SAFE ( Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act is a cannabis bill that should help bolster investor confidence when it passes.

The law effectively ensures that banks cannot discriminate against cannabis companies, encourages providing loans to cannabis companies, and recognizes that a bank cannot terminate a contract for the sole purpose of it being a cannabis company. It’s essentially a non-discrimination bill that would give banks the confidence to operate with cannabis companies as if it were business as usual, removing any stigma or legal red tape.

 

The CBD Effect

Cannabidiol or CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis plants that is non-psychoactive, which means that you can get the medicinal benefits of the marijuana without the high. Marijuana has been a known medicinal for centuries, and it’s this CBD that’s believed to possess the most medicinal benefits. Now with the growing acceptance and a continued push for legalization, there is hope for patients navigating chronic pain and seizures without dangerous side effects. CBD is showing the most potential for growth at the moment, as it can be produced in oils, creams, pills, tinctures, or edibles like chocolates or gummies. The compound has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as helping those coping with cancer symptoms to feel some relief. Big business recognizes the potential too. We’re now seeing companies such as Constellation Brands, (the owner of Corona), and the Marlboro cigarette company invest multi-billion dollar stakes in marijuana companies. The good news is this isn’t likely to be a temporary boom. The conservative analysts at The Brightfield Group, a company that specializes in Cannabis trends in the market, has predicted an increase to $22 billion by 2022.

 

The Softening of the FDA about CBD

The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has ruled that all drugs containing CBD, a Schedule I drug, require agency approval. But in 2018, the agency approved a CBD derived product to treat epilepsy. In this monumental decision, it placed G.W. Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex in the least restrictive Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule V drugs usually indicate a low likelihood of abuse.

Unfortunately, due to federal rules, it’s still illegal to market CBD food products or supplements. Still, the FDA seems lenient and shows potential to change this soon. This is good news for my clients in the cannabis industry who are waiting for the compound to be classified across all markets and states as a Schedule V. But they still need to wait. Unfortunately, due to limitations from international treaties, a blanket ruling on CBD will prove unlikely. It’s expected that only FDA-approved cannabis products with low levels of THC may join the ranks as a Schedule V drug. Nevertheless, since we’re inevitably heading to a marijuana boom, my team at the Movement Advisors and I are often looking to the future to plot strategy for potential investments. As with any disruptive commodity, there’s the potential of large companies flooding the market with a generic product sold at a low price. But based on what we’ve seen so far, two things could contribute to keeping companies from establishing a monopoly:

  1. The variety of strains available, which also speaks to a consumer trend of “locally-made” or “artisanal” products.

    2. States such as California have limited the size of marijuana farms, sending the message that if this is            going to be financially lucrative, let’s share the wealth with as many people as possible.

 

To the latter point, it’s logical that many other states would follow suit.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy your favorite brand when you’re traveling, or that product is limited to regions. Eaze is a popular cannabis delivery company, raised $37 million and is currently valued at over $300 million. They announced last year that they plan to create a system for delivering to 41 states.

They’re not alone as many other delivery services are following suit.

 

Taking A Cue from Tech Start-Ups

 

For the past two decades, I’ve helped startup tech companies, athletes, musicians, entertainers, high-net CEOs, and Fortune 500 companies strategize their holdings and investments. What I can see for the future of cannabis is clearly aligned with how things have gone for Tech startups. Once the political challenges are overcome, there will be other logistical challenges regarding access to capital. Cannabis companies are scaling at incredible rates. It’s like a gold rush for the industry where easy capital meets an unestablished foundation. As we’ve seen with many tech startups, a lack of foundation can make or break a company.

I believe that cannabis companies could learn a few things from the tech startup boom. The first of which is to niche down in the market. For new companies to develop products that are limited or not yet available. I see a need for beauty care, for example, that hasn’t been tapped. Secondly, finding a support staff that combines qualified expert salespeople and cannabis experts to navigate the growth without making things more challenging. And most importantly, just because there’s a demand for something doesn’t mean that customers want to buy it. Hiring quality marketing and creative branding is essential to grow and scale any company, and cannabis industries should be no exception.

 

What We Can Learn from Canada

Canada made recreational marijuana legal nationwide in 2018. In the past year, the industry has seen it’s expected fluctuation and growing pains. Faced with supply shortages and confusing language between provinces, as well as some areas that are still illegal (such as growing hemp at home), there’s still a significant learning curve for Canadian cannabis companies to overcome. But this hasn’t stopped them from raising massive capital on the stock exchange, which is going directly toward building the infrastructure product creation. Some Canadian cannabis companies have reported an equity stake of $3.8 billion. Meanwhile, American companies, such as Curaleave Holdings, produced a $4.5 Billion debut on the Canadian Stock Exchange. They can find capital on the Canadian Stock Exchange and are learning operations within a supply chain , different laws and capabilities. This education will likely garner a smoother transition for American cannabis companies when nationwide legalization becomes a reality.

Additionally, after the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, hemp suddenly became a known and desired commodity for U.S. farmers. Having been slammed with tariffs on staples such as soy, hemp’s legalization opens up financial means for farmers in a time and way that hasn’t been seen in decades.

Because of this gracious example, the U.S. marijuana industry will have a leg up on rebranding. But it likely won’t happen overnight and will still endure its own share of hiccups.

 

Changing the Perception of Weed

Most young people consider marijuana safer than alcohol. When you look at the history of alcohol and marijuana prohibition, you’ll see that they both were prohibited around the same time.

Yet alcohol’s prohibition only lasted a few years, while marijuana has continued for over 80 years.

Marijuana prohibition costs $13.7 billion a year. By bringing cannabis and hemp into the mainstream, these high costs will effectively be eliminated. In fact, it’s estimated that the legalization of marijuana could save $7.7 billion in law enforcement costs and add at least $132 billion in tax revenue and more than a million new jobs across the U.S. in the next decade. Because of the demand for hemp products, mostly CBD oil, hemp farming is suddenly becoming a desirable industry. And because THC is limited in hemp (it has less than marijuana), it’s an ideal source for the popular oil. This awakening to the potential of CBD and what it can provide may be part of the final acceptance of cannabis into the mainstream. What’s more is that hemp can be made into food, clothing, plastic, and even some construction materials, as well as biofuels, which can be made with hemp.

 

The Bottom Line of Getting High

The future of the cannabis industry may depend on how it will overcome political roadblocks, and regulation challenges. Even in states where weed is legal, choosing to invest, or become involved in the cannabis industry is a complicated business. Still, the payoff will be huge if strategy, infrastructure, and implementation is done right. As cannabis becomes more mainstream and the stigma of marijuana shifts, there’s a huge potential for entrepreneurs to financially benefit at the ground floor. With the right application and research, the cannabis industry will continue to create jobs at a rapid pace.

 

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