Marijuana Business Magazine January 2019

January 2019 | 53 BACKSTORY Henson is using analytics to propel the cannabis industry into the modern age. Previously, Henson led data strategy and market research for dispensary operator Higher Leaf and data-analytics software firm Headset, both in Washington state. She assumed her current post at Acre- age—a multistate, vertically integrated marijuana business—in July 2018. WHY TOWATCH Acreage uses data to inform and improve almost every aspect of its portfolio of brands and products, a sizable umbrella that includes dispensaries and production facilities in 11 state-legal cannabis markets. They all operate under different names, but Acreage hopes to rebrand all its dispensaries to The Botanist in the coming year. “I regularly monitor attributes that inspire everything from packaging decisions to pricing,” she said. Among other things, Henson tracks sales performance and consumer trends. Henson’s top focus for 2019? To find the “signals in the noise” that will further accelerate Acreage’s success. “We will be even more laser-focused on growing our footprint and brands in 2019,” she said. In addition to helping Acreage succeed with its current portfolio, Henson is using data analysis to expand the company beyond adult use and medical cannabis and into other wellness and lifestyle sectors. – Lindsey Bartlett BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “Use data to confirm product-market fit. Identify and predict trends and conceptualize innovative products and form factors.” Jill Ellsworth Founder and CEO, Willow Industries | Denver BACKSTORY Ellsworth is a food science and nutrition specialist by training and an entrepreneur at heart. In 2015, she was operating a juice company in Santa Barbara, Cali- fornia, and Denver that eschewed heat pasteurization and instead pasteurized products through high pressure. Ells- worth saw a huge need for a technology that could decontaminate marijuana. She thought the answer was the high-pressure method she used in cold- press juicing, but that process damaged the cannabis flower. Ellsworth instead turned to ozone, a form of oxygen used for disinfecting and deodorizing. She and a partner developed an ozone-decontamination business, Willow Industries, in 2015. WHY TOWATCH Willow Industries now serves more than 60 growers in Colorado and has a small number of clients in California, Hawaii and Nevada. In 2019, Ellsworth wants to expand to more states, including Massachusetts and Michigan. In addition, she wants to put a greater emphasis on selling the company’s technology than on providing decontam- ination services. One machine sells for as much as $125,000. If the technology catches on, it could put an end to the days of growers discarding thousands of dol- lars of cannabis that has failed lab tests. – Omar Sacirbey BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “Patience is No. 1. I’m not a patient person to begin with, but I’ve really had to work on my patience. … It’s taken a lot of time to get the industry and cultivators to understand the necessity of something like this. When I started this, I was like, ‘Everyone is going to need this. It’s from the food industry, of course.’ And then it was not like that at all. The pushback was pretty severe. So patience has been critical.” Jess Henson Director of Data and Insights, Acreage Holdings | New York City Women to Watch: Data & Technology