Michael Julian, President & CEO of MPSI Security
Security is one of the most important aspects of any business, and this is especially true for the expanding cannabis industry. More and more cannabis businesses are reaching out to established firms in an effort to enhance their security, as well as increase their knowledge on how to successfully and lawfully operate their business.
Michael Julian is the President/CEO of MPSI Security and National Business Investigations, Inc. NBI is an industry leader in legal and corporate investigations, covert surveillance, corporate security services, and has been charged with the protection of many high-level VIP’s and celebrities. Michael continues to flourish in the security and investigative industries, all while running his father’s successful company. NBI is the largest and most well-known security firm in the cannabis industry. They look to provide education and protection, as well as fantastic customer service to both existing and future cannabusiness. Michael is looking to leave his mark on the industry, and he shared some of his most important anecdotes in our most recent industry profile.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
I joined the board of directors of Medical Marijuana Inc. in November 2013. I was enjoying lunch with Troy Dayton and a few other corporate leaders. We discussed our combined 46 years of experience in investigations and security as well as the lack of sophistication in the cannabis industry. It seemed like a blue ocean of opportunity, and we all wanted to jump in with both feet. We began the corporation in January 2014.
What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?
My father started our company in 1967, so I’ve been involved with security and investigations since I was young.
This type of work is all I’ve ever done. It came naturally to me, so I continued my college education in Administration of Justice. I am a graduate of the Executive Protection Institute of Virginia. I’ve undergone extensive training to further my experience and knowledge in this industry. I was the president of the California Association of Licensed Investigators, the largest P.I. association in the world. I frequently lecture for executive protection professionals all over the country.
Describe point in the time you realized the ‘green rush’ was coming?
I realized the “green rush” was coming when I started talking to people about CBD and the medicinal benefits of cannabis and hemp. As somebody who used recreational cannabis in high school I knew it was not a terribly evil thing. The older generation is programmed to think it’s the worst thing in the world. However, once Colorado legalized cannabis I knew it was just a matter of time before everybody else would catch on.
Specifically, what are you doing to impact the cannabis & hemp industry?
We are protecting it.
We are educating our clients on how to legitimize the industry and play by the rules. We teach them how to work with local law enforcement to let them know that these are viable, legitimate business that don’t cut corners. These are business owners that have been growing and selling cannabis out of their garages for the last 20 years. They need to understand that police is relieved about the industry’s progress because they can finally practice law enforcement instead of busting high school kids for smoking pot.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
By far my father was my greatest role model. He taught me everything I know and gave me the instincts to naturally succeed. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1997 and has not seen any of my success. I’ve grown this company from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million, and it saddens me that he is not able to see what I have achieved.
How do you find inspiration, personally and professionally?
I find inspiration in knowing that we were the first to market this service and that the potential possibilities are limitless. We are sitting on the launch pad and have barely fired up the engines in this industry.
As far as the cannabis industry, I have several google alerts for news, newsletters, and blogs such as WeedBlog. I attend conferences, network as much as possible, and talk to my clients often. We have offices in Southern California, Denver, Illinois, and Maryland, so we’re constantly talking about changing and evolving laws. I receive emails and phone calls daily requesting our services in states that aren’t green. I am constantly learning from the people that are learning the business.
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
My proudest achievement is creating the largest and most well-known cannabis security firm in the country.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
Whenever I teach, I am sure to stress this as my main point: Cannabis is just another product, it just happens to be the newest and best product on the market. If you are a new entrepreneur, you need to do whatever it takes to become a good businessperson. It doesn’t matter what your product or service is – if you don’t know how to run a business, you will fail.
Where do your great ideas come from?
My best ideas come from talking with my clients in order to better understand what their needs are so we can fulfill them as best as possible. Back in the 40’s, my grandfather owned a grocery store and he always used to say “the customer is always right, even if they are wrong”. If I don’t know what the customer wants then how can I give them the service they need? The most important thing in the world to me and my business is customer service.
What is the last book you read that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Big Weed by Christian Hageseth, the owner of Green Man Cannabis.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
I think we will be excited about the fact that there will have been more research done, more experience gained in the refining and dosing of cannabis as medicine. There will be specific amounts of THC to address specific symptoms just enough to treat and make them comfortable rather than becoming impaired in their daily functions. The science of cannabis has not been perfected, right now it’s the wild west. Right now our knowledge of cannabis is around 1%, and we will be at 5% in the next year. I believe, in a year from now, that there will be several more states either online, or pending to be online. I think that a lot of minds will change as people worldwide learn more about the tremendous medicinal properties of cannabis.
It doesn’t matter what your product or service is, if you don’t know how to run a business, you will fail.
Legality is a big issue for a lot of people. I know doctors, lawyers, and business professionals that have tried cannabis every once in awhile, but some never touch it for the mere fact that it is illegal. I am the same way, but when cannabis becomes legal, I can guarantee I will keep some in the house just like I would a six pack of beer. The bottom line is that cannabis is a healthier, more natural element, and I would rather mellow out with a vape pen at the end of a hard day then have a martini. It would be much better for me.
What scares you most about this industry?
What concerns me the most is how screwed up the industry is going to be when the federal government legalizes cannabis. Big corporations and big money will engrain themselves in the industry and commercialize everything. In terms of fear, I overcame the concept a long time ago, it has no place in business. You should respect your clients and your competition, but fear is an emotional reaction, not an intellectual one.
If you could tell a skeptic one thing about this industry to make them change their mind, what would it be?
You should visit some of the people whose lives have been changed and saved by cannabis. Then see if you can come and tell me that cannabis is as evil as people think it is. The biggest impact to me is the effect cannabis has had on children. There is a misconception that we are letting kids smoke cannabis, but that is not the case.
Tell us something that you wish you had known before becoming a cannabis entrepreneur.
I wish I had known earlier on how it would explode, so I would have gotten in earlier!
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I really want to stress how important it is that those who want to contribute to this industry do everything right. They need to focus on doing everything legal so they don’t provide any ammunition for those who fight against cannabis.
The most important thing in the world to me and my business is customer service.
MPSI focuses on security solutions for the cannabis industry. We do all things security including designing plans for new dispensaries, electronic programming, and transportation and physical security. We currently have licensing opportunities, and we really encourage people to visit our website to find out more about these opportunities.