BY MARIE LODI
Select is an expansive cannabis company with a wide range of both CBD and THC-focused products that was born out of the simple desire to help a loved one in need. Cameron Forni, president, and CEO Cura Partners, Inc., and founder of Cura’s Select brand had a close friend who was suffering from a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which causes pain and irritation when smoking cannabis flower. Forni wanted to find a less harsh, smoke-free way to ingest cannabis, and he began by deconstructing every vaporizer he could get his hands on. He discovered that many vape pens are made with silica wicks, but organic cotton wicks are more beneficial, and thus Select was born in his 700-square-foot apartment in Portland, Oregon. Now, the brand has more than 530 employees in four different states, working hard to improve the industry. Learn more about Select, and how its innovations reach beyond its products, in our conversation with Forni below.
What is your personal relationship with cannabis?
I’ve been a fan of cannabis for a quite a long time. I typically use cannabis for sleep. One of the best things about my job as CEO is getting to know the people on every side of the business that we couldn’t function without. From the growers to the dispensary owners and the budtenders—there are so many people in the cannabis industry working hard to make a positive impact, to make it what it is today.
What are your thoughts on the trendiness of CBD right now—and do you think its popularity will continue to grow?
Consumer demand for CBD has grown quite a bit due to its many incredible properties. We’veseen that some people like to consume CBD as their only cannabinoid of choice for those reasons. What we’ve found is that CBD is the first step for any new cannabinoid user, though 75% of the U.S population has not tried any cannabinoid product, whether that’s CBD or THC. A 100% pure CBD product is the natural first step to get to know your cannabinoids and how they interact with your body. CBD allows consumers to have a pleasant, safe experience for their first time, and then it encourages the consumer to step up and try different cannabinoid profiles and ratios to their desired effects.So I expect to see an increase not only in consumer interest around hemp-derived CBD products but also in cannabis-derived products that are higher in THC.
Select CBD is one of the only cannabis wellness brands that serve both humans and their furry counterparts. Why was it important to create a brand that offers products for both people and pets?
After several months of offering Select CBD Drops, we also heard from consumers who wanted to use the unflavored formulation with their pets, but they were unsure of dosage. That helped us realize that a tincture specifically formulated for pets would be a beneficial addition to our product line. From there, we formulated a 750mg tincture with pet-friendly flavors, including Salmon, Peanut Butter, Chicken, Bacon, and Unflavored options.
Personally, we use CBD for our own family pets! We have a blind, diabetic dachshund named Twinkie who was having trouble getting up from the bed and had a very low quality of life. We started using Select CBD PETS Drops and they have completely reinvigorated him.
How did your connection to cannabis continue to evolve after starting Select?
I eat, sleep, and breathe Select, and cannabis is a critical element of my life. My connection to cannabis has only grown stronger over the past four years with Select, and I’m prouder than ever to be a part of this incredible industry!There’s never been an opportunity like this in my lifetime to have this kind of significant impact on the world. Honestly, it’s very difficult to think about anything else.
Select Elite is always my go-to product in the Select family. My favorite strain that we produce is Tangie or Citrus Sap, because I’m a huge fan of terpenes like limonene to keep me energetic and ultra-focused, which are two incredibly important facets to my life.
There are two particular areas that I’m especially excited to have set standards around for the cannabis industry: employment standards and testing standards. Select’s parent company, Cura, has led our industry in setting industry standards around employee benefits and perks never before seen in cannabis. We were one of the first companies in cannabis to offer comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage, a life insurance program, long-term and short-term disability coverage, a free employee assistance program, and a flexible and generous vacation policy with many company holidays, to all employees. Recently, we set our minimum compensation to $14 per hour and have encouraged our partners and customers to do the same.
Furthermore, pesticide and potency standards are an important and critical focus for all of us at Select. Our focus has always been on testing our products beyond standards required by the state, and we do that for every state in which we operate: Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona. We are proud to put all of our CBD products through the most stringent testing standards in the country; namely the Oregon pesticide, residual alcohol, and microbial panel. In fact, we feel that we’ve truly set an industry-wide standard. Our products undergo quality control and are batch-tested at State & Federally accredited labs near our headquarters in Portland. We are one of the first and only companies proactively testing for a full panel of analytes at the Parts Per Billion level.
What’s next for Select?
Select will continue to release new and innovative products that will captivate audiences globally. We’ll also continue to push forward new standards for our growing industry. In the coming months, you’ll see exciting new product lines that I’ve personally developed to provide consumers with even more unique ways to consume cannabis and hemp-derived products!
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