Dan Bilzerian’s Ignite Announces Jim McCormick as President

Ignite International, Ltd., a CBD and cannabis company based in Los Angeles, has named Jim McCormick as their new President.

McCormick is a global consumer goods executive with years of experience in brand and trade marketing, scaling businesses internationally, operations and supply chain. McCormick will oversee all aspects of Ignite, reporting to Founder and Chairman Dan Bilzerian.

“When the opportunity presented itself to add an executive of Jim’s caliber and global experience to lead our management team, I did whatever it took to make it happen. Jim’s global experience operating in highly regulated markets including the US cannabis industry made him a great fit for Ignite,” said Dan Bilzerian.

The highly regulated market, aside from cannabis, that Bilzerian referenced is the tobacco industry. McCormick worked with British American Tobacco for 16 years, 14 of which he lived abroad. In the cannabis industry, McCormick has previously worked as COO and CFO of KushCo Holdings Inc.

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McCormick told Candid Chronicle that he got involved in the cannabis because of the sheer size of the opportunity, and the parallels with the challenges he faced in the tobacco industry. McCormick explained, “This includes the regulatory aspects of the industry including advertising restrictions and the challenge of building brands in a “dark market” scenario.  Also, the short and longer term impact of excise taxation and dealing with regulated products. As I have dealt with these issues over much of my career in the tobacco industry I saw the opportunity to apply this experience immediately and directly in the cannabis space.”

In comparing working in the two regulated industries, tobacco and cannabis, McCormick explains that the general social acceptability of cannabis is a refreshing change. On the other hand, he describes tobacco as inherently dangerous and becoming “less socially acceptable by the day.”

McCormick says that the many forms and variations that cannabis can take create a challenge when it comes to educating end consumers on the differences and benefits of each.

“Take the major product lines- traditional flower, pre-rolled joints, vaping, concentrates, drinks, edibles, etc. Then consider different product strains, terpene profile, THC/CBD combinations, delivery levels. It is easy to see how the product options become very voluminous very quickly,” says Jim McCormick.

As far as being a cannabis consumer himself, the new Ignite President says he has tried many of the different variations of Ignite’s products in order to speak effectively about them. McCormick cites Ignite’s Hybrid vape as his personal favorite.

If Jim could change one thing about the cannabis industry, he would like to see a more standardized approach to regulatory oversight and taxation.

McCormick explains, “As the industry develops there are many insights gained as to what is, and is not, effective. As new markets [US states] legalize these insights should be built into the new regulatory framework. Ignite, and other industry participants, prefer to work with regulators on implementing sensible regulation for the maximum benefit of all stakeholders. This includes taxation levels which, if set at too high a level, deters the development of the legal market given the price differential from the illicit market.  This is an issue I have dealt with globally as countries balance the need for tax revenues with the risk of consumers moving to the illicit market.”

Jim shared his expectations for the cannabis industry over the next three years, stating that he believes the “US will further emerge as a sector leader globally with other countries looking to the US for guidance on regulation and management of the industry.”

Jim McCormick’s Predictions:

  • There is a very high probability that the US will fully legalize cannabis at the Federal level within 3 years.
  • We will see an emergence of leading brands in the US with a national presence.
  • Large CPG firms will take an increasing position in the cannabis industry, especially tobacco and alcohol concerns leading the way.
  • Pricing will not always be stable with the increasing efficiency of cannabis production facilities driving raw flower material pricing down triggering mini “price wars” in certain markets.
  • Advertising restrictions in the US will generally ease.
  • The industry will professionalize rapidly in terms of production and marketing driven by expertise injected by the large CPG participants, much greater consumer understanding, the general economic “scale” achieved in the industry as the market grows.
  • There will be breakthroughs achieved in medical research as clinical trials are undertaken the benefits of the product are understood at a much higher level.
  • The cannabis industry will be increasingly seen as a place where high potential professionals want to work and develop their careers.
  • The number of large international markets that have a path to legalization will grow significantly led by Western Europe and South America.

As far as the future of Ignite goes, McCormick says that they aim to follow the needs of consumers. Ignite’s products are currently sold in California and Nevada dispensaries.

“We will continue to push our national US distribution as well as explore international options for expanding the Ignite brand,” says McCormick.

Featured image via @ignite.