In India, cannabis consumption has long been part of Hindu worship and Ayurvedic medical practice. According to ancient Vedic texts, the psychoactive herb was "a gift to the world from the god Shiva" - where the nectar of immortality landed on earth, cannabis sprang forth. Longevity and good health were attributed to this plant, which figured prominently in Indian social life as a recreant, a religious sacrament, and a household remedy. Hindu holy men smoked hashish and drank bhang (a cannabis-infused cordial) as an aid to devotion and meditation. Folk healers relied on cannabis, "the food of the gods" for relieving anxiety, lowering fevers, overcoming fatigue, enhancing appetite, improving sleep, clearing phlegm, and a plethora of other medical applications. Cannabis flower tops were said to sharpen the intellect and impel the flow of words. "So grand a result, so tiny a sin", the Vedic wise men concurred. There are no less than fifty Sanskrit names for cannabis, all praising its attributes ...
Hirsh Jain is the Founder of Ananda Strategy, a consultancy that serves many of California's leading cannabis brands and retailers, helping guide their competitive licensing efforts, expansion strategy, M&A activity and regulatory compliance within California. Ananda has experience working in urban, suburban and rural communities across California, and has helped clients establish cannabis businesses in Bellflower, Brisbane, Ceres, Chula Vista, Concord, Corona, Costa Mesa, Culver City, Emeryville, Hanford, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Modesto, Oakland, Oceanside, Pasadena, Redwood City, Sacramento, Salinas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, Ventura, West Hollywood, and Union City.
Hirsh serves the Chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, which aims to promote the common interests of cannabis businesses in Los Angeles County by advocating for sound public policy and facilitating collaborations between cannabis operators. He also serves as Vice Chair of the California Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
Hirsh is also on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in California, which for fifty years has been working to reform California's cannabis laws, led the opposition to the War on Drugs in California, and co-sponsored the nation's first medical cannabis law, Prop 215, in 1996.
In addition, Hirsh is a Policy Advisor to the Working Group National Cannabis Social Equity Coalition, the only national cannabis Social Equity policy advisement organization solely made up of current and in-process Black, Brown, & LGBTQ+ Social Equity Applicants and Owners in the United States.
Hirsh is also an Equity Workshop Instructor at Success Centers, a San Francisco-based non-profit that helps communities impacted by inequality and the War on Drugs develop sustainable career and entrepreneurial paths in the cannabis industry. Hirsh regularly leads Success Centers Workshops on cannabis licensing and policy that help social equity applicants navigate local and state regulatory requirements.
In addition, Hirsh is a Senior Advisor for the Cannabis Equity Retailers Association (CERA), a Los Angeles-based non-profit that advocates on behalf of social equity applicants participating in the City of Los Angeles' social equity retail licensing program. Hirsh has helped lead CERA's advocacy efforts on behalf of faster processing timelines and increased financial and technical support for social equity applicants in Los Angeles.
Hirsh was previously the Director of Government Affairs at Caliva, a leading California cannabis brand. Hirsh helped Caliva successfully compete for cannabis licenses across California and oversaw the company's expansion strategy. In addition, Hirsh led Caliva's social equity partnerships, building mutually beneficial partnerships between Caliva and cannabis brands started by those negatively impacted by The War on Drugs.
Prior to Caliva, Hirsh was the West Coast Director of Government Affairs at MedMen, a national cannabis retailer. Hirsh oversaw 80% of the company's footprint and each of its major West Coast markets, which included California, Arizona and Nevada. While at MedMen, Hirsh helped write Arizona's 2020 state ballot initiative that legalized cannabis.
In September 2021, Hirsh joined the Cannabis Investing Podcast to provide a detailed analysis of challenges and opportunities in the California cannabis market.
Ananda Strategy has helped clients establish cannabis businesses across California's diverse landscape, including the following jursidictions:
We have drafted local and state ballot initiatives to reform cannabis laws, organized signature collection efforts and helped lead campaign strategy, including Prop 207 in Arizona (2020), and the LA Equity Fund Initaitive (2022).
We help provide investors, funds and other parties with a detailed understanding of leading cannabis operators, their footprints, business performance, competitive positioning, management team, regulatory risks, and growth prospects.
We have helped operators establish cannabis businesses in dozens of jursidictions across California, as well as in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, Virginia and Washington.
We help operators, investors and other interested parties develop a deep familiarity with the evolving state regulatory landscape for cannabis in the United States, and which states present the best strategic opportunities in light of these regulatory dynamics and other market trends.
We serve many of California's leading cannabis brands and retailers, helping guide their competitive licensing efforts, expansion strategy, M&A activity and regulatory compliance within California.