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Joel Dickerson, CEO GPS One and Creator of PaperWaive – Interview Series

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In the evolving cannabis industry, the pursuit of sustainability grapples with a unique challenge – the copious generation of paper waste. Faced with stringent compliance mandates governing packaging, labeling, and record-keeping, cannabis businesses find themselves entangled in a web of paperwork. The intricacies of maintaining voluminous records prove not only tedious but also fraught with potential pitfalls; non-compliance can result in substantial fines. Striking a delicate balance between adherence to regulatory requirements and environmental responsibility becomes paramount in an industry where the paper trail can quickly become overwhelming, underscoring the need for innovative solutions to mitigate the environmental impact while ensuring operational efficiency.

Enter Joel Dickerson, CEO of GPS One, and the brain behind PaperWaive – a revolutionary digital manifest solution poised to transform the cannabis industry's record-keeping landscape. PaperWaive provides an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional paper-heavy processes, offering cannabis businesses a streamlined, compliant, and sustainable solution. In this interview, Joel sheds light on the genesis of Paper Waive, its functionalities, and the transformative impact it envisions for the cannabis industry, emphasizing not just operational efficiency but a significant reduction in paper waste.

Q: Joel, could you share a bit about your background and journey leading up to your role as CEO of GPS One and the development of PaperWaive?

A: Sure, I have a degree in sports management and spent about 10 years working in youth athletics. In 2013, while on vacation in Colorado, I met some people who offered me a position at LivWell. There, I headed the learning and development program, overseeing the training of budtenders and managing the expansion from 5 to 13 dispensaries. During my time, I helped to build LivWell University which would later become Learn Brands, an online cannabis training platform catering to the needs of the Budtender and the broader cannabis industry. After four years, I transitioned to managing dispensaries before taking on the role of Chief of Business Development at Green Parcel Service in 2018, diving into the transportation side of the industry.

Q: Joel, what sparked the creation of PaperWaive, and how did it evolve?

A: When I got into transportation, I noticed the enormous amount of paper waste generated with each cannabis delivery – Green Parcel Service did about 30,000 deliveries in 2018, with a minimum of five pieces of paper per delivery that had to be stored for three years. In 2019, the law still required physical copies, but by 2022, the regulations changed. That's when we started building software to support our business, which led to the birth of GPS One, the parent company of Paper Waive. We officially launched on January 15th, 2024.

Q: Could you elaborate on the successful launch of PaperWaive?

A: The launch on January 15th was fantastic. The standout feature of PaperWaive is its simplicity. We aimed to build a digital manifest system that is easy to use while keeping up with regulatory compliance requirements. The positive feedback during the launch was rewarding after years of development. We wanted to reduce paper waste not only in cannabis but across industries, and that's how Paper Waive came into being.

Q: Can you explain how PaperWaive functions and its unique features?

A: Paper Waive is essentially a Google Chrome extension that communicates with various systems across industries. It pulls information from different sites, enabling a smooth transition from paper to digital manifests. The user experience is highly functional and straightforward. Currently, we are offering it free of charge as we focus on user adoption and promoting sustainability within the industry.

Q: What has been the most significant challenge in developing PaperWaive over the past four years?

A: Compliance has been and still is the most substantial challenge. Ensuring digital signatures and all aspects of the digital manifest comply with regulations required precise calibration. Collaboration with legal teams and the marijuana enforcement division was crucial in building a solution that meets all compliance requirements.

Q: How do you envision PaperWaive impacting the overall efficiency of cannabis businesses?

A: Companies can expect a significant reduction in printing costs, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars annually. Digital manifests also make it easier to retrieve order information over time, contributing to overall operational efficiency.

Q: In your view, what is the biggest success for PaperWaive?

A: Sustainability, without a doubt. We estimate that PaperWaive can save 10 million pieces of paper a year in Colorado alone.

Q: What's next for PaperWaive?

A: Our next phase involves digitizing the invoicing process. We're also looking to expand beyond Colorado, targeting states like Michigan and California. Additionally, we're actively lobbying for the acceptance of digital manifests in other states, as only a handful currently allow it. Our goal is to prove that digital manifests work and provide a sustainable solution for the cannabis industry.

It was a pleasure to have this conversation with  Joel Dickerson, CEO of GPS One, and the brain behind Paper Waive. Readers wishing to keep tabs with Paper Waive are encouraged to visit GPS

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.

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