When Quality is your Brand with Joel Pepin of JAR Cannabis

JAR Cannabis Company has rapidly grown into one of the largest Cannabis operations in the state of Maine. They operate multiple retail locations within the adult-use and medical markets. They also have an incredible cultivation facility and do their own extraction and manufacturing of finished goods. Jar Cannabis has become a staple at Budz Emporium as well as other Maine retailers. JAR is known for its quality products and superior packaging. We are blessed to be joined by JAR Co-Founder, Joel Pepin to discuss what it takes to scale a business in the current state of the industry. Joel is also known for his policy work and advocacy for the community. Join our conversation and hear for yourself what it takes to build a brand rooted in quality.

Guest: Joel Pepin, Co-Founder Jar Cannabis Co.
Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show


Hey, budz.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m excited to update you on a few things.

As you know, Budz Emporium here in Medway

is doing phenomenal and just continues to grow.

We have have the best vendors in the state and

some that I want to introduce you to today.

But when we first got started at Budz Emporium,

it was not all rainbows and unicorns.

It was a struggle and it was hard, especially as

some of you know, we had a few other ventures

that were going in the sustainability space and a few

things that just took a turn during the pandemic.

And so we had limited resources and we had

to work with just the best brands, brands that

were willing to work with us, that produced quality

product that we were proud of.

And there were so many.

But there’s one in particular that I

want to introduce you all to today.

In joining from the JAR team, the

J in JAR, is Joel Pepin.

Joel, thank you so much for joining us.

Pleasure to be here. Thank you.

So it’s cool, man.

I’ve been walking around the store and I was looking

at pictures side by side from where our shelves were

in February of 2022 to where they are today, and

just the work that we’ve done together.

When we opened, I remember having to ask Ryan if we

could do 4 strains and make that up into a pound.

So a quarter pound of 4 different things.

And he kind of was like, we don’t normally

do that, but if that’s what we need to

do to help you get open, then okay.

And I just remember we had 2 jars on each

shelf, and here we are today with upwards of 12 strains,

sometimes from just your brand concentrates and cartridges.

And so it’s just been so fun

to grow and to grow with you.

And I just want to say thank you for

kind of helping us out in those early stages

and helping us to be where we are today.

Man, it’s been fun to watch and thank

you for the support and for the interest.

And we’ve always really sort of had a

lot of excitement for your geographical location.

So watching the evolution of your business and

seeing the whole thing grow from our perspective

has been a lot of fun.

And I might add, I’m actually very excited to announce

this, but I do think we’re going to be up

your neck of the woods maybe mid October to try

to hike Katahdin before the park closes.

So we were just talking yesterday, Adam and

I were talking about coming up and maybe

doing a JAR pop up for the afternoon.

That would be amazing.

So definitely everybody will have to check out our Facebook

page and Instagram page for when that’s announced, but we

would love to have you here at the store and

kind of showcasing what you all do.

And I brought some samples for those that are

tuned into our YouTube channel today, so you can

kind of see some of the work.

But that’s so exciting.

So I can’t wait to have you all up here. So tell me.

I originally thought JAR was stood for jar in

these beautiful jars that your product comes in.

And I also brought for those tuned into the video,

a concentrates jar, so you can see that as well.

The packaging is beautiful.

So, Joel, I always thought JAR

just stood for these beautiful packaging

that your brand incorporates into itself.

And so can you tell me what JAR actually stands for?

Yeah, absolutely.

So we’re not the most creative people, right?

And so when we were trying to figure out

how to come up with a brand for our

cannabis, we had all these different ideas and names,

some with multiple syllables, and we couldn’t really come

up with something that felt right.

And JAR is basically stood for

Joel and Ryan cannabis company.

My business partner, Ryan and I started

working together about a decade ago in

medical cannabis, and so it was simple.

Joel and Ryan cannabis company. Right?

And it was a little bit of a play on words.

You put your good weed in a jar,

so we kind of like that component.

And it wasn’t the most creative, but it just

felt right out of all the different things that

we came up with, so we stuck with it.

And then it’s funny now it actually

stands for Joel, Adam, and Ryan.

So our business partner Adam, he sort

of came into ownership years later after

Ryan and I started working together.

And we like to joke with Adam saying,

you’re lucky your name started with an A,

otherwise I’m not sure if it would’ve worked.

That’s right.

You would have needed a new business partner.

So how long have you and Ryan known each other?

About 10 years. 10 or 11 years.

We’ve known of each other for longer than that.

We both kind of grew up, and I grew up

in Auburn, he grew up in Turner, and there’s a

few years between us in age, so we knew of

each other before that, longer than that.

We had some we had close mutual contacts

that knew each of us, but he and

I together about 10 years, 11 years.

So business partners are hard as it is, and in this

space, I feel like it’s even more of a challenge.

Even myself, I’ve had, I think from

start until today, probably seven different partners.

It’s just you have different visions,

you have different levels of commitment.

So what makes up a good team and

how do you develop a good team?

Because I’ve only seen and been able to watch

about a year now, but it seems like all

3 of you really kind of have your silo

of execution, and you do it beautifully.

And so I was just curious, how did

that partnership come together and how do you

guys keep that oiled up and frictionless?

Well, I mean, I think in any

partnership, it’s not always frictionless, right?

So I think in any partnership it’s good, especially

in the onset, to figure out like, when there

is friction methods of working through that in a

productive way, which we’ve been able to establish.

I think the biggest thing for us, it’s probably

one of the biggest advantages we have as a

company, is the strength of our partnership, right?

And for Ryan and I early on, like I

said, there’s a few years age difference in us.

And so where do I go with this?

When I started as a medical caregiver, it

was really early on in the program.

It was late 2010, 2011, and for those watching that

were around back then in the program, that was basically

right when they came out with caregiver registry cards.

And so Ryan was one of the first

caregivers that received one of those cards.

And you knew it by the way they numbered the cards.

I think he might have been the second or

third caregiver to receive one of those cards.

I might have been like the 11th.

And so we had met right around that time.

And I don’t know, we just had a lot of the same values.

We were friends outside of business.

We had sort of the same

goals and beliefs around cannabis.

In a lot of ways.

Ryan has been a mentor to me. I’ve looked up to him.

He’s a few years older and he’s been able to

sort of accomplish things, but I was just sort of

trying to figure out how to get started in life.

He was a little bit further ahead and there

was a lot that I looked up to.

And the way he was cultivating was sort

of like on a different level even back

then, which was really eye opening for me.

So Ryan and I have a real close bond

in partnership, the closest of friends outside of work.

And it’s not always easy to

be friends and then have business.

But for whatever reason, he and I have been

able to navigate that I think, very well.

And I think you’d say the same

and we do anything for each other.

And then I think when it comes to business, we just want

to do the best that we can every day for our business,

and we want JAR to be the best it can be.

We’re very passionate about that.

We really want to make careers

out of working in cannabis.

We’re both entrepreneurial, right?

We don’t ever want to think about having to get

a job somewhere else or to work for somewhere else.

So we’ve always just wanted to run our

own cannabis company and make that our job.

And then Adam was a great fit.

So I think in terms of our

partnership and our silos of expertise.

Adam has sort of been watching JAR’s

evolution since I’d say, like, 2014.

Adam’s a childhood friend of mine. I grew up with Adam.

I’ve known Adam since I was maybe 10 years old.

So, again, just a very strong bond of trust and

sort of like knowing who the potential partner is and

what they care about, what’s important to them.

So I think the 3 of us, we share a lot of

the same goals and vision for business and specifically for JAR.

And I think we all have different areas of

expertise, which has complemented each other very well, and

it’s translated very importantly to the business.

So to break it down for everybody, Ryan, really, he

oversees everything, cultivation and what I’ve seen him do cultivation

and what we do today, day in and day out

with our cultivation team is so impressive to watch.

And so, really, producing consistent, high quality flower has

been the backbone of our brand over the past

decade, and that’s Ryan’s wheelhouse. Right?

I have been a little bit more involved

with building out the retail side of the

business, overseeing concentrates and the extractions.

As you know, I’ve done more of, like, trying to

help find retail locations, getting towns to opt in and

that type of thing, some of the lobbying stuff.

And then Adam just has a really creative mind

when it comes to just business strategy in general.

So Adam is like a great sounding board for anything

and everything that we’re trying to scheme or consider.

Adam really helps us keep our eyes on cash flow

and cash management in a way that is not easy

for me to do or for Ryan to do.

So the 3 of us together, it’s a lot of fun.

Now, you guys have been in this industry since the

conception of really legal cannabis in the state of Maine.

And so I’m fascinated to get your opinion on

the medical industry versus the adult use side.

And let’s take it from the business perspective.

What does it take to run a successful business on

the medical side versus what does it take to run

a successful business on the adult use side?

Is are the principles the same

or is it dramatically different?

I would say the foundational principles that we

have that made us successful would translate to

all kinds of different businesses, not just medical

cannabis, not just adult cannabis.

It’s translated well for Ryan and I and business

interests, like, outside of cannabis altogether.

So it’s just about being detail oriented,

doing things right the first time, not

cutting corners, treating people well.

Honestly, a lot of what we do is just very basic

things that we all believe strongly in, like treat others the

way you want to be treated type of thing.

Positive workplace culture, only put out your best quality,

and if you’re going to do something, do it

right the first time, or else what’s the point

in doing it in the first place?

To answer your question about what it takes to

be successful medically versus adult, I think it’s a

lot of the same type of thing.

Of course, each market is at a different

point in terms of its maturity and dynamics. Right.

But overall, I think the reasons we’ve been successful

in adult use were extensions of the same reasons

and principles that made us successful medically. Right.

And that’s just like for us, specifically, when it comes

to producing flower, we really believe you get what you

pay for when you build out a cultivation facility.

So we spare no expense when it comes to

our lights, our room design, our drying our curing.

And in our evolution over the past 10

years, we’ve been fortunate enough to build out

in many different facilities in Maine and Massachusetts.

And along the way, we’ve learned so much.

So we really believe, like, you can never

stop improving ways to produce better quality.

You can never stop finding ways to find efficiency. Right?

And so that was a big part of our success medically.

And of course, it’s a huge part of what

we’re doing right now in the adult use side.

That’s incredible.

And just since I’ve known you all, which would say

would be February of 2020, the growth has been incredible.

I mean, from stopping by SJR Labs to the building that

you have today, I mean, the growth is surreal, and I

can only imagine that you have to have a lot of

trust for each other to grow that fast.

But it’s truly like you’re trusting

each other’s, families with each other.

I got to meet Stephanie’s mom the other day

at the building, and I just thought that that

was so cool that everybody is truly involved and

invested in the business and with us.

Although it’s primarily Brooke and I kind of running the

operations in the day to day here, it’s my aunt

and uncle and my parents and so many other people

that have put blood, sweat, and tears into this building

in order to create what we have today.

So it really is kind of a

passion project, but it just incorporates everybody,

so there’s just so much love there.

Yeah, I mean, for us, it really

is more than, like, a business partnership.

It’s more than a friendship.

I mean, it’s like a family.

Like, JAR is a family to us.

We have our real families at home, but

JAR is such an important part of our

lives, my life, Ryan’s life, Adam’s life.

And so we have this big JAR family.

And for us, it is kind of surreal to

look at the evolution of what we’ve done together.

And I think when Ryan and I started working together

10 years ago, we had this hope of especially when

the referendum question in 2016 was on the ballot, we

were like, okay, if you don’t use cannabis passes in

Maine, maybe there’s a legitimate shot we could make a

career of working in cannabis in Maine for the next

15 to 20 years.

So there was a hope that we had, but

we didn’t really know exactly how it would turn

out, how it would play itself out for us.

So my family has been involved in the business.

Ryan’s family is involved in the business,

like the team that we’ve built. It’s surreal.

And we look at the talented staff that we’ve been

able to put together in the different departments and managers,

and it’s like we’ve got this amazing team of people

that move JAR forward every single day.

So it’s incredible and it’s a lot of fun.

It’s a dream come true, for sure.


Now, before we move, I have a

lot of questions about concentrates for you.

But before we go, I just want to show those.

And for those that are listening on the podcast,

head over to weedbudzradio.com and you’ll see a picture.

I’m holding some bud that has come from JAR Co.

And we were talking the other day here at the store

and we were talking about what is the brand behind JAR?

And obviously JAR has got a nice little

shield, but what is the actual brand?

And for us, it’s quality.

You know what you’re opening when

you open one of these jars.

It’s a quality piece of cannabis and it’s probably

one of the best that there is that the

state has to offer, if not in the country.

And that’s just a really special place to be.

But it’s something that the whole staff here is like.

JAR is so much more than just

a word on a piece of paper.

Like, it really is that crack when you open a jar.

So it’s just really special.

I wanted people to see that and kind

of how that’s packaged and just how beautiful.

But one thing I think we can all

really learn about today is the different types

of concentrates because there’s so many from live

resins, cured resins, to the sugars and batters.

And now I’m really excited because we have the

hash rosin carts here at the store from your

team, and those have been doing incredibly well.

And for people like me, I

just love that kind of product.

So I was wondering if you could kind of help

me differentiate, for example, to start Joel, what’s the difference

between a cured product and a live product?

So, like a cured resin versus a live resin?

For sure.

So cured typically means that the plant material

that the concentrate was derived from, where it

was extracted from, was dried material.

So for us, like a cured resin cartridge that

was extracted from, you know, scissor trim, trim material

that was dry, it wasn’t fresh frozen. Right?

And then so on the opposite side of that,

live alive resin or a live raw means that

it came from plant material that was immediately frozen

right at the moment of harvest.

And was frozen up into and

during the point of extraction.

And so basically what that means, I think for

the most part, cured means came from dry material.

Live means came from fresh frozen material.

And I think the main difference is what we

see in a lot of our test results that

we have to do for every batch.

Like, it’s kind of funny.

Cured products sometimes and usually will have a

little bit higher potency in terms of THC,

the live products will be slightly less.

But what you’re getting in a live

product is maximum terpene retention for cured

concentrates that come from dry material.

That dry material went through a drying process.

There were some terpenes that came off

during that process from the plant material.

So there just aren’t as many terpenes

available at the time of extraction.

And so cured products for us, we freeze the dry trim

as soon as the trim is clipped away from the flower,

and we do everything we can to preserve terpenes from the

dry material that translate into the cured products.

And cured products can be phenomenal in

terms of flavor, profile and potency.

And this would be considered a cured product. Right?

Like something that I would typically smoke or

open from a package that would be cured?

Yeah, your flower. Absolutely.

And maybe we can talk later about some of

the techniques that we’re using to really cure flower,

but there’s a serious art to it and we’re

sort of like refining our approach to that.

We’ve made some big leaps forward, we feel,

in our process over the past year.

But, yeah, your flowers, cured concentrates

are coming from dry material.

Live concentrates typically are coming

from your wet frozen material.

Interesting, because that right there. Right?

So resin and rosin, it’s like, okay, live, cured.

I’ve now figured that out.

So the live comes from the fresh plant that’s

frozen, then extracted that’s live, and then cured comes

from something that we would just consume in practical

terms that would be ready for extraction.

So what’s the difference between something

like a resin and a rosin?

Those seem exactly the same to me.

Yeah, it’s like one letter that’s different. Right.

But actually it’s a

completely different extraction process.

And one thing I think that’s important to note

on the live product, so, like, the frozen material

that we’re extracting from is whole plant.

So it’s like, it’s for us, it’s your A grade flower

that you would smoke, like the wet version of harvest.

And it’s the trim that would get separated

in a cured product meant for only extracted.

So your live product isn’t getting

extracted from just like frozen trim.

It’s getting extracted from frozen whole plant material

shucked from the stem, which is pretty cool.

So the difference for us internally, and I

think across the market, the difference between a

resin and a rosin, rosin is concentrate that

is extracted via no solvents.

So solventless extraction.

So for us what we’re doing, and we’re

really excited about doing this now in our

current facility is ice water extraction.

And then go through some post processing where

you’re basically just using pressure and temperature to

separate out the rosin through a rosin crest.

So there’s literally no solvents.

You’re using ice water as the solvent to

extract the trichome heads from the plant material.

And then we’re using a press to sort of

like refine the finished rosin material in the various

forms that you would find in the store.

Resins go through hydrocarbon extraction.

So blend of butane protein.

You’re using a solvent to remove the

trichome heads from the plant material.

And then of course, we go through postprocessing

to remove those solvents and yield the concentrate

that’s still really good quality but just went

through a different extraction process.


So now I’m curious because I’ve got, let’s see,

for example, this is ice cream cake cured batter.

And I have this is sour snippets sugar.

And so those are a little bit different.

But if I had the live rosin or live resin out,

it might look a little bit similar to this.

Joel might be a little bit soupier in consistency.

What’s the biggest difference between that?

Because the batter and some of those resins,

they seem similar, but they taste dramatically different.

And so I’m guessing that those

are a different process as well.

Yeah, they are a different process.

The difference between your batter and the sugar

that you’re showing there similar extraction process.

The batter goes through a whipping motion to sort

of blend the cannabinoids and terpenes into the consistency

that you have there in front of you.

The sugar goes through a little bit

more of a lengthier post processing where

essentially the concentrate yielded from extraction.

We’re trying to crystallize and crash out some of

the THCA into the sort of more chunkier forms

of the concentrate that you see there.

What we try to do is retain a

decent amount of terpenes with our sugar.

So I think the difference between the

2 that you showed right there is

there’s obviously a difference in consistency.

Sugar on average seems to test a little bit

higher and it’s potency does have some terpenes with

it, but not as terpene rich as the batter.

So I think someone who’s looking for more of a

flavor profile and depending on your method of consumption, you

might want to steer them towards a batter.

But someone coming in, again,

depends on their consumption method.

But someone who’s looking for like

a higher potency dab will concentrate.

Typically sugar is the direction you

want to push them in.

THCA is the precursor to THC. Right?

So THCA gets heated and then that becomes THC. Yeah.

So THCA, THC in its acid form is basically that’s

how THC occurs and is produced by the plant. Right.

And so THCA, when heated, converts to Delta-9 THC

and Delta-9 THC is what is psychoactive for us

that’s what basically gives us the high that we feel.

So your sugar that has a lot

of THCA has a high THCA value.

As soon as you put that on your rig or you

put it on a bowl and you put your lighter to

it, it’s converting in real time and you’re consuming quite a

bit of Delta-9 as you inhale and so that’s sort

of where you get that psychoactive effect from.

Perfect. Now. As a retailer.

One of the things that I’m really struggling with is how

to properly display my concentrates because I try to keep them

dark and I try to keep them cool and then I

have to open each of them to let people smell them

and check them out and I have not figured out the

perfect way to display concentrates and so as I’m looking at

kind of building out the right display I was wondering if

you had any tips or tricks or things because I know

even people at home they might get a jar of concentrate

and just stick it on their desk and open it up

a week later.

So what is the proper way for a retailer

to display concentrates and then for once I take

it home, how should I care for it?

Yeah, I mean it’s a challenge for us too.

In our stores a lot of the concentrates that we end

up putting on display you need to be able to display

a product if you really want to be able to showcase

it to the customers coming in but just by nature of

having the lid off of it showing in your display case.

Lights getting to it.

It’s degrading the concentrate slightly so for us

a lot of times like our display end

up either getting destroyed or they’re not

sold to an end consumer so you’re kind of

like sacrificing one out of the bunch to display but

when life is exposed to it, your terpenes are coming

off of it, it is degrading the quality of the

concentrates for the most part in terms of storage for

the majority of the concentrates just the coolest temperature that

you can get is the best right?

And then keeping it out of light.

So ideally like mid 60s to low 60s

is the best way to sort of store your

concentrates in a box out of light.

Most of what we do is shelf stable and

will retain its quality quite well for the consumers.

I think it’s really important to

I think the biggest thing.

Especially during summertime is like keeping any form of concentrate in

your car on a hot summer day and that’s like a

real quick way for either a vape pen to go bad

or shatter to get all liquefied so the big thing is

just like keeping it out of direct sunlight.

Keeping it away from heat on the rosin

side and there’s some versions of some SKUs

of hash that actually need to stay refrigerated

all up and through the point of sale.

And we haven’t quite yet gotten to the

point of producing those on a regular basis.

But for us, even in our stores, like,

we’re looking at adding special refrigeration for certain

types of coal cures and hash cues.

And then there’s some people that are really into consuming

hash that have these little portable coolers at home to

keep your hash in, that you would plug in to

keep it controlled at the right temperature.

So hashes a little bit more and

certain types of hash are a little bit

more particular and how they should be stored.

There are several forms that are okay at

room temperature, just like most of what you

have, like the cartridges, those are all fine.

Just keeping them in the coolest

temp possible at your store.

That’s amazing. So that was one of the things that we were looking at,

was getting a little bit of a display that sort of had

some sort of cooling element on the bottom and that way you

could put the concentrates on top of it and then just remove

the lid, keep it protected from the light.

But we’re bouncing a few ideas back and forth,

but we want to make sure that we definitely

do them right because we have such a loyal

customer base for concentrates up here.

For Sure. For us at our stores, what we like to

do is our back storage area where the vaults

are, keep them very cold, and we dehumidify.

We’ll add humidity in the middle of winter when it’s

really dry outside and make sure things don’t dry out.

That’s important for your flower quality too.

So I think retailers like even thinking about your

product storage behind the sales desk goes a long

way, especially for preserving quality and shelf life.


Now, Joel, before we go, I want to talk to you a

little bit about some of the policy work that you do, because

I feel like anybody in the cannabis industry has to do a

little bit of policy work at one time or another.

And I know that you are part of a couple

of different organizations, and I just love for you to

kind of talk a little bit about some of the

work that you’re doing on the policy side and some

of the organizations that you’re a part of and maybe

others want to get involved with as well.

Yeah, for sure.

So policy work in Maine has been I’ve been involved first

hand for the past, I don’t know, 5, 6 years.

And it’s something that I feel a lot of operators

in Maine don’t have the perspective of that policy work

in Maine, you can get results off of some effort,

a little bit of effort, especially when you join that

effort with other like minded people.

And I think there are other cannabis markets out

there where operators could put some work into

policy, put some effort into policy work and not

be able to get like, a state rep on

the phone or a senator on the phone.

And here in Maine, one thing that I’ve kind

of appreciated is there’s been certain times where I’ve

needed to call the rep in the district or

the senator in the district where SJR Labs, for

instance, is operating to try to get a piece

of legislation sponsored that would help our business.

And I was able to do that.

I think for anybody who has an

interest, like the politicians in Maine are accessible.

And I don’t think it’s like that in many other

cannabis markets, especially not the bigger ones, which is, I

think, a unique opportunity for our industry. So today

and for the past 2 years, I want

to say 2 to 3 years, I’m president

of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association.

We lobby for both medical and adult use policy work.

And then before that, I was involved with just

sort of like as a stakeholder who had hired

our own private lobbyists to sort of like, keep

us posted on what’s happening up in Augusta.

So really what I’ve been involved with, I

think since 2015, especially since 2016, when the

referendum was on the ballot, keeping my eye

on what’s going on in Augusta.

And then since then, there’s been a

lot that’s happened on the medical side,

going from plant count to canopy, 500 square feet of

canopy was something that we were very involved with

and in support of being able to wholesale what

was 70% of your product as a caregiver and

retail 30% was a big thing.

So getting caregivers legally allowed to wholesale their product

was very important to the industry that we believe

strongly and we were involved with being able to

for caregivers to have more than one employee.

More than one assistant.

Was a really important one and logical

one that we fought for. Caregivers

being able to have the right to a storefront.

One storefront is a big one that we fought for.

And then, of course, nowadays caregivers can

wholesale what they grow, and of

course, we supported that as well.

So medically, those are some of the

big things that we’ve been involved with

on the adult use side most recently.

What do we do?

We passed a bill 2 sessions ago that basically allowed

for an entry way to check IDs in stores.

It’s kind of like an oversight in the drafting

of the original rules for the adult use program

that you had to check ID outside the door.

So it was like the first year,

year and a half of the program.

That’s basically how the law read. So we changed that.

That said you could check inside the door if

you had sort of you could keep the patrons

from entering physically separate from the sales floor.

So that was a big one.

We’ve streamlined this last session, some of the

testing requirements, so, like, not having to test

your trim or your fresh frozen prior to

extraction final form testing seemed logical.

There’s a lot of redundancy in testing or there was.

And so we made progress last session

on sort of streamlining that process.

I think a big one we’re focused on we haven’t been

able to solve yet is the excise tax for operators.

So this whole $335 a pound to the state in

the adult use program definitely needs to be reworked.

And so we’re really looking forward, a lot of our

stakeholders are looking forward to trying to make progress.

We had made some progress on it, but it basically

stalled in appropriations and never became law last session.

So yeah, man, those are some of

the big ones that we’ve been up. There are many more.

I can’t think of them all right now.

That alone is sickening.

When you think of, let’s just say, for example,

for an outdoor plant, that excise tax could cost

double to 3 times as much as it costs

to put into the plant itself.

Yeah, it’s definitely an industry killer at this point

in time and I get why it’s there.

We conceded that original tax structure 10% at the point

of sale, 335 flat just to get the program launched.

We knew that this was something that

we’d be lobbying for in the future.

And when the program started, 335 was roughly 10%

of the wholesale price of flower for adult use.

Wholesale flower has come down more and so the

excise tax effective percentage is a lot higher.

I mean, it’s an industry killer for the

current wholesale rates and it’s sickening like the

amount of money that operators have to pay.

And it’s kind of funny.

Like the state released office cannabis policy released a

study, a third party study that was done kind

of saying how it’s the adult use program, the

regulated program that has done more in the medical

marijuana program have done more to sort of like

curb black market illicit marijuana activity than anything else.

And I think for the regulated market to continue

to have success in doing that into the future,

we’ve got to lower the cost of operation.

That 335 is a significant cost.

It sure is.

That is absolutely a killer because when you think

about trying to get vertically integrated and working backwards,

whether you’re a cultivator working forwards or a retailer

working backwards, if this industry is so hard as

it is with the way that the tax system

operates that something like that, you’re right.

It’s just so limiting when we’re trying to

create an industry with rapid growth but with

the safety and security that is required to

keep the public and the stakeholders safe.

Because I think stakeholders are looking at some

of this in a positive light as well. Right?

I want to make sure that the products that we put

out are the best that are top notch and nobody’s going

to get sick and I also don’t want to get sued.

And so these accountabilities are

for everybody.

For sure. And I think one of the things the industry

has going for, especially the adult use industry, because

everything is tracked through final sale is like we’re

really able to communicate to politicians, to stakeholders outside

of the cannabis industry, like how much of a

force this industry really is and has been in

the state of Maine for all these years. Right?

So the adult use program this summer grew

to new highs in July and August.

$16 million months, $17 million ed, we e

We don’t know exactly what the medical regulated market is doing,

but I would imagine the two combined, we employ a ton

of people, you know what I mean, in the medical industry

and the adult use industry and those numbers to be able

to prove that to people is we’ve never had the amount

of data that we’ve had before.

So it’s a major economic driver for the state.

There’s a lot of people employed in the industry.

There’s a lot of people that come to Maine and appreciate

tourism in Maine that know that cannabis is a high quality

product at a very fair value in either market here, which

is a huge thing for tourism in general.

And I think it’s really important that Maine’s developed

that reputation in the Northeast and I think it’s

very important for both industries in Maine to continue

for that to be the case moving forward.

If you’re on a vacation in the Northeast, people need

to know that the best product at the best prices

in Maine, and a lot of people do, but we

need to make sure that continues in the future.

100% people come to Budz Emporium for that exact reason.

I mean, they’re driving from out of state

sometimes coming up here, doing their weekend snowmobiling,

hiking, camping, and then they’re doing whatever they

need to do because the prices are just

dramatically and so significantly less expensive here than

they are in other parts of the country.

But it’s also, I think even some of my

friends that from California, they were surprised when they

came out here that Maine truly has some of

the best products in the country by far.

There’s just incredible cultivators

here, yourselves included.

So we’re super grateful for that.

Yeah, I know, it’s true.

I mean, we’re also sort of like far down

the rabbit hole day in, day out to realize

what we’re doing and how it compares to other

markets in the country or even across the world.

And it’s like when you take a step back, it’s true.

Like Maine really does produce some of the best

cannabis in the country and in the world.

And I think it’s for a bunch of different reasons where

a lot of us are just blue collar, hard workers.

I think cost of business here is

competitive relative to other markets in the

Northeast and different parts of the country.

And there has been, especially the medical side,

sort of like a low barrier to entry.

So you have a lot of specific operators focusing

on 1 or 2 segments of the industry of

the supply chain and just maximizing their process and

their quality and their efficiency in that realm.

Whether it be like just concentrates or

just edibles or just flower production, we’re

all competing with each other.

So that elevates everybody’s quality

by nature of competition.

So, yeah, man, we take a step back, and

it’s really impressive with what the market means done.

It is. Well, Joel, I just want to thank you so

much for all the work that you all are doing

and for joining us today on WeedBudz Radio.

For those that are tuned in, where can they find

JAR retail locations and where can they find you online?

So, jarcannabis.com, we keep up to

date with our retail locations.

You can find us on weed maps.

So JAR retail locations.

So we have adult use retail in South

Portland, in Wyndham and Newry up by Sunday

River on the Sunday River Access Road.

We’re a week or 2 away from opening our fourth

adult use store in downtown Old Port, which is exciting.

And then we have sort of like our flagship medical

store in Wyndham, right next to our Wyndham use adult store.

So you can find our medical store in Wyndham as well.

Amazing. Well, be sure to check out all of

those locations and be sure to head over

to weedbudzradio.com, check out those show notes.

We’ll have links to connect with Joel

and to connect with JAR Cannabis.

And of course, we’re always so grateful to all of you

for tuning in to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

We’ll see you in the next one.


Innovation meets Cannabis with Nohtal Partansky

Welcome back Budz!  I am your host, Ry Russell and today I am excited to introduce you to the CEO of Sorting Robotics, Nohtal Partansky.  As an Aerospace Engineer, he shares his experience working at NASA and what led him and his business partners to venture out on their own to create their own robotics company and their journey into the Cannabis space. Their new technology helps create infused products with more efficacy and efficiency than ever before. Nohtal and his team are on a mission to reduce the repetitive tasks that are slowing down innovation within the cannabis industry. Tune in and join our conversation. 

Guest – Nohtal Partansky CEO, Sorting Robotics

Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show


Hey, budz, it’s your best bud Ry here.

And I’m excited to talk to you all today because

as some of you may remember, back in the pandemic

when everything was a little chaotic, I started working on

a number of different podcast shows, and one of

those shows was called IOT Idols Innovators to Watch.

And I got to explore the world of

innovation through automation and kind of what these

different engineers and innovators were kind of bringing

to make life better and make life easier.

And that was extremely fascinating.

And as time goes on in the cannabis industry and

you see manufacturers coming online more and more

and more unique products, I started to kind of look and ask,

where is automation coming into the cannabis industry?

When is it coming?

And lo and behold, it is always easy to

find on LinkedIn and the little universe we’ve created

here because our good friend Mike Mejer from Green

Lane Communication introduced us to our next guest.

So I’m really excited to talk about this with

somebody that knows a thing or two about it.

So Nohtal

It’s so great for you to join us on WeedBudz Radio.

Thank you very much, Ry.

Yeah, I’m interested to be a part

of the series of innovators and automation.

Yeah, it’s so exciting.

And obviously two passions of mine are

cannabis and technology, and you are kind

of where cannabis and technology collide.

And so for those that don’t know, it’s fascinating to

think that your career has kind of been all over

the place and a very entrepreneurial journey, if you will,

but not necessarily a traditional entrepreneurs journey.

I was wondering if you don’t mind sharing

a little bit about your journey into kind

of what brought us here today. Yeah, sure. No worries.

I guess I don’t know what

a traditional entrepreneur’s journey might be.

I’ve talked to a few of them.

They’re kind of always all over the place, right?

But my background is in aerospace engineering, so

I have a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

I worked at NASA JPL, the

NASA Research Center in Los Angeles.

And I actually worked on a project

that is currently on the surface of

Mars producing oxygen, and it’s called Moxie.

So I was the lead mechanical engineer

on the heart of that instrument.

And then also I did a lot of work

on the overall architecture, and that was awesome.

But as you might assume, NASA is kind of a

heavily bureaucratic sort of environment, and it moves very slow,

and it can be kind of frustrating sometimes.

And so me and my co founder that was also working

at NASA at the time, we wanted to kind of strike

it out on our own and then build this robotics company.

So we picked up our third co founder,

who was doing his PhD in computer vision,

and we said, all right, let’s build robots.

And the first robot we made was

actually a robot that sorted Magic the

Gathering cards or Pokemon cards, trading cards.

And that was pretty cool.

It was super valuable to the industry that it

was in that industry was just very small.

So it sorted the cards.

Yeah, actually you’d put in a thousand cards and

we started with Magic the Gathering and then

eventually went to Pokemon and Yugioh.

But you would put in a thousand cards.

There’d be a camera that went over the cards.

It would scan them, cross reference them to an

online database of over a hundred thousand unique cards,

accurately identify what it was, what set it was, what variable,

kind of promo, small detail card.

And then it would take those thousand cards and

it would do whatever type of sorting you wanted.

So did you want to get all

the expensive cards out of that pile? It could do that.

Did you want to sort them by alphabet? It could do that.

Did you want to sort it by edition, set, rarity?

It could do that.

And then after it sorted, it would upload

that database to the online store of these

sellers and basically eliminate 80% of the labor

that these people who sold online would do.

It was really cool.

It was like probably one

of our most sophisticated robots.

And yes, that was kind of

the first thing we started with.

So what did you do after that?

So after that we then got into

a startup accelerator called Y Combinator.

Kind of a fancy sort of venture arm

with a business development program behind it.

If you don’t mind, Nohtal

why is that specific program so valuable?

Because those that are listening might

not necessarily know kind of what’s

all entailed with something like that. Yeah.

So Y Combinator is commonly referred to as the

Harvard of Silicon Valley because it was the first

startup accelerator kind of like built that model.

And that model is basically they give you a

bunch of money to invest and then they kind

of help you develop your business model.

And a bunch of the biggest companies in the world

have gone through it like Airbnb, Dropbox, DoorDash, Instacart, kind

of these companies that are very common now.

They started with like three guys in

this business development program.

That’s amazing and it’s hard to get into.

So congratulations. Super hard.

Yeah, I think the acceptance rate is

less than 1% or something like that.

Yeah, so we got into that and we said, okay,

we want to use this network of all these founders

and these investors to find a bigger market.

And so after kind of scouring the different industries of

what’s a good place to put our efforts behind, we

found that cannabis just really didn’t have a lot of

automation and it was very manual and very labor intensive

and a lot of these big companies weren’t even looking

at it or even trying to service the industry because

of its federal status.

So living in the gray is where startups kind of thrive.

And we said, okay, cool, we have a positive

disposition towards the plant, and we like robots, so

this sounds like a good path forward.

And so then, boom, that’s what got us into cannabis.

And that was kind of the

small journey into the cannabis ecosystem.

And then we’ve been doing a

bunch of weird stuff since then.

So before we talk about the cannabis and the weird stuff,

can you tell me a little bit about what is it

like being cannabis positive in a very federal environment?

You mean like when I was working at NASA? Yeah.

I didn’t smoke any weed when I worked at NASA.

Yeah, I was pretty low key because they can do

drug testing and stuff like that, and you also don’t

want to be caught with your pants down.

So I would say me and my kind

of engineering friends while we’re there, kind of

took a sabbatical from cannabis during that time.

Sure. You clearly had experimented with it

prior to your experience with NASA.

So leaving, because I was kind of trying to

wrap my mind around how does a systems engineer

at NASA get in the cannabis space?

Yeah, I mean, it was like kind of those steps, right?

It was like moving from NASA to doing robots

for small industry and then small industry to big

industry in cannabis is a bunch of kind of

non sequiturs to get to where we are.

And you said as soon as we kicked off

that there’s not necessarily one true standard entrepreneurial journey,

if you will, because my background is very media

heavy and very marketing focused and consumer experience and

found my way into the cannabis industry, bringing all

of those skills together.

And again, those steps don’t necessarily make sense looking at

them individually one by one, but it’s really easy to

kind of see how we got here when you look

at it in the rear view mirror.

And so I’m fascinated, when you looked at the cannabis

space, did you have an idea of where you thought

we needed help in terms of automation, or was that

a journey in a process in and of itself?

Yeah, that was also a bit of a

journey because I didn’t actually know anything about

the cannabis industry when I first started.

I mean, I knew I liked weed.

That was kind of where it began, right.

And when we got into the industry, we

kind of had to experiment quite a bit

to understand really where the pain points were.

And a big part of that was helping set

up a co packing facility in Oakland and actually

running that and participating in that process of running

a plant touching facility that would co pack with

some bay area clients and also act as like

R and D for this highly controlled substance.

And that process is really what taught me

and our team exactly what’s needed in the

space because we started building for cannabis manufacturers,

and then we were kind of participating in

the knowledge gathering of this cannabis manufacturer.


And so we kind of became

the customer to know the customer.

And then that’s where all these

problems started becoming very apparent.

Like, when you’re actually in the operations and you’re in the

day to day, you’re like, oh, wow, this is crap.

Wow, that doesn’t make any sense.

Is there any solution for this? No. Okay.

Let me talk to my customers

or other people in the industry. Do they know? No. Okay.

Well, there’s like, no answers to this.

Very surprising, because this industry is huge, and it’s getting

bigger and bigger, but there’s like, these huge gaps, and

that really served as, like, a good launching point for

our current products that we launched now and the product

roadmap that we have moving forward.

That’s amazing because I think of the cultivator specifically

and the processors and manufacturers, there’s a lot of

opportunity for automation when you look at it on

the surface and having really kind of my origin

of my career being manufacturing, I’ve seen incredible equipment

automate some of the most mundane tasks.

And one of the things that I really love

the most doing research for this episode was on

your LinkedIn page, you wrote, I want a world

where all repetitive labor tasks are done autonomously.

Then people can find or can utilize their

efforts on helping others and being creative.

And I thought that was really powerful because there’s

an argument so often, well, if you just automate

all of this stuff, what about my labor?

What about my staff?

I don’t want them to go anywhere.

So I get what you’re saying, but what do

you say to the argument of, well, some of

this equipment could automate thirty, forty jobs?

That LinkedIn post is kind of like

an overarching ethos of mine, right.

But when it comes to practicality of the automation,

especially in the cannabis industry, and how it’s kind

of hyper fragmented in these different states, if you

talk actually with these manufacturers, they’re not firing their

people when they buy equipment.

They’re just actually using them

for higher value add tasks.

Because really the problem that these people are

having is not that they want to automate

jobs and then fire all their staff. No.

It’s that they can’t even find

enough people to do the jobs.

That’s the big problem.

It’s not having the workforce of the labor

because people don’t want to do these jobs.

Extremely hard to hire.

I mean, I even ran into that issue

myself with the co packing facility up north.

It was very hard to hire for some of these kind

of simple tasks because people don’t want to do it.


There’s a very few amount of people that

want to sit down and pack prerolls all

day or pack concentrate jars all day.

It’s extremely tedious.

It’s super boring.

And when you do find them.

You actually can’t have them do that all day.

You have to vary the tasks throughout the

day because otherwise they get super slow.

They get really grumpy because those jobs suck.

People will do them because they need to, but

it’s the responsibility of the employer to make it

not a nightmare for the employees to do it.

And as you know, the industry in the United

States is moving more towards a knowledge worker basis.

I think it makes a lot of sense to automate

those jobs that the manufacturers are having difficulty filling.

It’s not that they want to fire a bunch of people.

They can’t even hire the people they need.

So that’s kind of where that

comes from in a practical sense.

I appreciate that argument very much because the more and

more I talk to cultivators, you’re right, they need fifty

trimmers, but there’s only twenty five that are hireable, and their

capacity is now limited to man hours.

Where to your point, it’s, well, maybe those twenty five

trimmers that they do have could be out generating

revenue rather than sitting at a desk trimming weed.

I guess that when you put it that way.

That seems to make a lot of sense on paper.

Another point that you made

is just that repetitive task. Right?

The boredom sets in.

Agitation can kind of set in.

And when I first started my career, I worked at

a medical manufacturing facility for diagnostic kits and eight hours

putting pipettes into a kit or putting cotton swabs into

a kit or filling vials, and it’s just it was

the same thing all day, day in and day out.

And eventually there was a really big shift to kind

of cross train and get people, and it made the

nights go by so much faster when you’re learning something

new and you’re applying yourself in different ways.

So I like just that example there because even in the

retail side, you could be cutting flyers or labeling, and it

just becomes so tedious that you kind of have to shake

it up in order to get the maximum output because there’s

no point in labeling when you’re just doing one at a

time versus when you’re kind of going at it. Right.

And you’ve got a flow going.

So that makes a lot of sense, and the

more that I think are there’s so many applications.

So I know you have a machine right now

to help with infused blunts and prerolls, correct?

Yeah, that’s called our Jiko robot.

Okay, so tell me a little bit about that.

Yeah, so that’s an idea that we got

from participating in that co packing facility directly.

A customer came to us, said, hey, we want to

do some infused payrolls, kind of in the fuzzy style,

and this is back in 2020, and when infused prerolls

in California were kind of just becoming a little bit

trendy, they were still very small part of the market,

and they asked us to do this job.

They gave us all this kief.

They gave us all this distillate.

They gave us stuff to make the prerolls.

We made the prerolls. It’s easy.

Then when we did the infusion

part, we were painting them.

We followed these SOPs that they gave us

but it ended up being extremely messy, both

in interaction with the customer because we ended

up using too much kief and running out.

And then the distillate was super messy and

kind of literally all over the place and

it just wasn’t a good process.

And, I mean, we did try to do a very

good job of it, but the spillage rates and all

that kind of methodology just didn’t really make sense.

And so since that labor was so high and that

spillage was so high, I kind of went back on

the robotic side and said, let’s just make a method

of infusing that is not just kind of cosmetic.

It looks cool, but actually

is functionally a better product.

And in a manufacturing kind of

gross margin sense is less spillage.

So you save on your material input costs.

And in some of these markets, it’s extremely expensive

and less labor, which in every market is expensive.

And that’s another thing that people

just don’t want to do, right?

People don’t want to sit there and paint

prerolls with distillate and then roll them in

kief. Yeah, it’s not a great thing.

It’s not a great job.

And so that’s when we made the Jiko and

basically just injects prerolls and blunts with concentrate, making

a column of concentrate down the center and turns

it from just like a regular preroll and kind

of into like a little dirty dab rig where you

have this cherry on the end vaporizing all this

concentrate, kind of smooths out the smoke.

You get that full terpene profile when you do

things like live raws and injections, and then you

can start mixing and matching and making designer joints,

which is not something you can do these days.

Can you do more solid type concentrates as well

as the distillates and batters are going to be

a little bit more runny, whereas the sugars and

the rocks and sauce are going to have a

little bit more of those solid factors to them.

Does that machine allow for both or does it

have to be more kind of the liquid side?

So it has to be able to become a liquid.

What happens after it’s a liquid kind

of changes depending on what it is.

So if you’re using a distillate after you

inject it, it’s still going to be basically

a liquid, just like a hard liquid.

However, if you’re using a batter or maybe

like a non pen stable rosin, after you

inject it, it turns into like a crystal.

So you can do these injections and when it cools

down, it cools down into like a crystalline structure.

And that’s what is really bad.

If you put it in a vape

cart because then it can’t burn.

But if you put it inside of a joint, it’s perfect.


It’s kind of like you’re getting that little dab.

So, yeah, I mean, it has to melt down.

You can’t, like, put in just kief, right?

You can’t inject kief because that’s like

a solid granular type of thing.

But we’ve seen people do like, hash rosin where that

is kind of this oily, mushy sort of dough, and

then you melt it down so it becomes runny.

And then you can inject it

into the joints or the blunts.

And then when it cools down, it goes back into

that same form that kind of like gooey dough form.

Very cool.

And that will dose based off of weight, I assume.

So doses by viscosity and time.

So we’re basically doing like a time based

dosage because the range of materials is so

large, kind of this constant pressure pushing, it

decreases the chance for you to accidentally create

cavitation in the system by pulling a vacuum.

And if you pull a vacuum, sometimes your batters or

your shatters or your sugars that you’ve melted down.

So we do sugars and stuff. You just have to melt it down

so there’s no more crystals left.

But if you do that and then you pull a

vacuum on it, it can sometimes actually create bubbles.

It actually causes it to decarboxylate.

And so this way we actually just provide a

constant pressure and just push it through the system.

That’s very cool.

So when you are doing this and

you’re working in this facility and you’re

seeing the opportunities, was there any regulatory

issues that come up when you’re manufacturing

equipment to manufacture these schedule 1 drugs?

Well, I mean, we don’t have any of the

schedule 1 drugs in our robotics facility because we’re

not licensed and that’s I don’t really want to

get rated or something like that.

We just have hemp and like Delta-8,

which is legal, and hemp is super legal.

So we have that documentation on staff ready to go.

But on the plant touching side, we would

deploy our machines to that co packing facility

to really run a real life scenario.

Because infusing hemp with Delta-8 is

very different than infusing THC joints with

like a rosin or like, a batter

because that material consistency is different.

The way it affects and response

to heat is super different.

It’s just just like so different.

So when we were doing kind of the final phase of

testing that last six months, it was in the field.


So I know, like in Maine, for example, the regulators

cannot seem to figure out once you infuse a

preroll, do you measure it as a flower product?

Do you measure it as a concentrate product?

So I was curious how that is working

in some of the markets that you’ve seen,

because obviously it becomes a manufactured product.

But I’m just trying to forward think here because

Maine doesn’t have this yet because they don’t know

how to tax it or how to regulate it.

So have you heard about that in other markets

where you haven’t been able to infuse products?

And do you have an idea of kind of why?

There’s some places where the infusion

of products is highly regulated or

segmentated from different operators.

So I know in Oklahoma, like a farm can’t

infuse, you need specifically like a processing license.

And then when it comes to how you’re going

to quantify the joint in California and in Michigan,

they quantify all of them as infused, as joints.

They’re just joints with more THC

or whatever inside of them.

And I know that right now, on the possible ballot

or a ballot like decision tree on how to tax

things in New York, they’re actually trying to connect the

taxes to the THC percentage, which I think would be

insane and make no sense whatsoever in terms of regulations

of infused products and just things in general.

They’re kind of all over the place.

And it’s honestly extremely confusing where they

even get these ideas from.

I’m confused just thinking about that.

How do you tax on the percent?

Like, would alcohol be taxed on the percentage? Right.

No, because then effectively you

deincentivize a variability of products, right?


And it’d be very different because everyone in

every state is like chasing THC percentage.

Like, can we make a preroll that’s 50% THC?

It’s like, yeah, you could.

I’m not sure if it would be good, but you could, right?

And people are kind of buying off that

notion because everyone is still getting educated on

the market on what matters in a preroll

or what matters in a cannabis product.

And yes, if they did that, that

would kind of fuck it up.

I think it wouldn’t make any sense.

We have Budz Emporium our adult

use store here in Maine.

We have a kief infused preroll that is

37 and a half percent, and that’s the

highest product we have thus far anyway.

But again, looking at when these types of

products come to market, I think that they’re

just going to be a huge opportunity here.

Speaking of huge opportunity, one I would like

to ask is this machine and this equipment,

is this something that’s readily available for cultivators

and processors to buy right now, or is

this within your facility right now?

The Jiko unit?

Oh, no, it’s ready to buy all over the country.

So we’ve sold ones everywhere.

We sold a few in Canada.

We sold to Michigan,

Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Massachusetts.

Where else?



Now we’re basically focusing on a lot of

those emerging markets, like New York, Ohio, these

kind of places that are starting to come

online and getting their feet wet.

And they want to start with automated systems because

they kind of see what everyone else started with

when they had an army of people and they’re

like, yeah, I don’t really want to do that.

Let’s take some lessons, learn from the other states.

Yeah, like I said, I can’t wait until we have it here.

So we’ll have to get one of your

units to Maine at some point, I hope.

Yeah, definitely.

My last question for you.

You saw the opportunity in the

cannabis space for this unit.

I’m curious, would your peripheral kind

of seen some other areas?

Because I think of trimming

right? And just preroll packing.

There’s already equipment there, but there’s not,

at least to my knowledge, nothing like

true scale full automation yet.

But that’s just kind of what my

simple mind sees as low hanging fruit.

Do you have any kind of other thoughts of just

ways that this industry can automate and become more efficient?

Yeah, I mean, one thing that we built and just

launched recently is a kind of vape filling machine, which

isn’t special so much as there are other machines around.

What I think we have taken the approach as is

to kind of build a platform that was from the

ground up specifically made for cannabis and very different from

what other people are kind of doing where they find

something from another industry and they kind of jerry rigged it

to make it work with cannabis stuff.

And so when you start with the cannabis plan

in mind and that sort of material handling issue,

you then can very easily kind of mix and

match that design to do other things.

Like that vape cartridge filling machine will

also be able to do gummies.

And if it’s doing gummies, it will also

be able to do maybe drinkables as well.

And so we’re kind of going through this experimentation

process of where have the current technologies that have

been applied to the space fall short.

And that’s kind of where we see it

in like vape cartridge, gummies, edibles situation.

And I think that’s where we’re going to be

focusing a lot of our effort on next. It’s amazing.

I can’t wait to continue to follow your journey

and the products that you all have coming out.

So for those that are interested right now in getting in

touch with you or getting some of your equipment or following

you, what’s the best way to stay in touch?

I think the best way to stay in touch is

follow me on LinkedIn and you can hit me up

on LinkedIn or just, I guess send me a message.

nohtal@sorting roboticscom. That’s my email.

I check it every day.

So if you want to reach out, just drop me a line.


Well, thank you so much.

We’re so grateful that you made the time

to join us today on WeedBudz Radio.

Thank you for having me.

And of course, we’re so grateful to all of you

for joining us on today’s episode of WeedBudz Radio.

Be sure to head over to

weedbudzradio.com check out those show notes.

We’ll have links to all the

websites you can connect further.

And of course we are excited to

see you in the next episode. So stay tuned.

Don’t Let it Smoke You with Tarris Batiste

Hello Budz!  Welcome to another episode of Weed Budz Radio.  I am your host, Ry Russell, and today I am joined by Tarris Batiste, Author of  “Don’t Let it Smoke You”.  As a community of advocates, we often focus on the benefits of Cannabis and removing the negative stigma associated with the industry.  Today we discuss the importance of responsible use and the potential hazards of not educating yourself.  Tarris shares his personal journey and how he found balance, respect, and appreciation for the plant.

Guest – Tarris Batiste – Author
Purchase Book: Don’t Let it Smoke You

Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show


Hey, budz.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

Of course, I’m still your host

Ry Russell

And today I want to talk

a little differently about cannabis.

Not negatively, not positively, just differently, because

I would consider myself an advocate.

I would consider most of you

tuning into this show an advocate.

And I think we sometimes get lost in our advocacy.

I think we like to downplay some of

the negative components that can come with cannabis.

And we love to cheer and celebrate all of

the amazing things that cannabis does for people’s lives.

But there’s a spectrum, just like there is with

everything, and there’s this wide gap in the middle.

And I think it’s unfair for us advocates

to look past some of the negative things

that can happen with cannabis in people’s lives.

And I think it’s obviously ignorant for those that

just see the negatives to not educate themselves and

inform themselves on some of the positives.

So in my journeys of looking for people that might be

able to speak on both sides of this, I was super

blessed to get connected with Tarris Batiste on LinkedIn, and he

is the author of Don’t Let It Smoke You.

And I want him today to share his journey

and what his personal opinions are about cannabis, how

it can be an effective use for athletes and

for individuals all over the world, but how it

can also kind of take control negatively.

And so, joining us today, Tarris, thank you so much.

Yeah, for sure.

Thank you for having me on.

I’m happy to be here, happy to chat about with you.

I love your passion.

I love your passion around cannabis and your

understanding around the pros and the cons.

Happy to be here and happy to get in to talk to you.

Well, we connected very quick.

I remember you sent me a message and

I said, I want to talk to you.

If you’re not going to give me twenty minutes of

cannabis is the best thing in the world, I want

to have a real conversation, and it’s real.

And so I would love for you to share

with the audience a little bit about your journey.

How did you and I connect, kind

of where did you come from?

And then let’s talk about the book.

Yeah, so how me and you connected was via LinkedIn.

Just doing my outreach about the book.

The book came out a year ago.

I was been doing tons of outreach. Right?

Trying to market, trying to get it to as

many hands that makes sense, that’s aligned with it.

So that’s how we connected kind of before then.

A little bit of background.

I’m from Georgia, from a small

town in Georgia called Cartersville.

I live in Seattle now. That’s my new home.

It’s been in my home for like, three years.

Learning about the cannabis industry, where

it’s going all different topical,


Actually, I love that shit, man. I’m going to be honest.

But I learned about that right now.

But also what got us on the

call is I wanted to do both.

I wanted to be able to use and not let it control me.

And you sound like you kind of had the same thing.

Had the same similarities going on.

Not personally, but as you kind of grew up with it.

And that’s what got us on the call, man.

I’m happy to talk to it, for sure.

So when did cannabis first start

playing a role in your life?

Yeah, so like, everyone I don’t want to

say everyone, but I started off smoking. Right?

Back then we didn’t have the cool CBD

bongs and all that stuff like that. Right?

I started off smoking and I

started off around 8th grade.

Ry, but it didn’t continuously happen until, I would

say, junior year in high school is when I

really started to learn how to roll up by

myself, didn’t need my friends, and started to kind

of get into that act over and over again. Interesting.

And was it something that you were using because

obviously you were an athlete, so was it something

that you are using for pain management or were

you using it because it was cool?

You know, neither at that

time, to be completely honest.

I was using it because I enjoyed

it and the shit was fun.

It got us around hot chicks in high school.

It got us around each other and we kind of all

stood around and kind of stayed to this little bubble.

So I enjoyed that. Didn’t notice.

It was going to be a cool thing.

Although it kind of was kind of edgy

and kind of arcane, little mysterious when we

were younger, but yeah, for sure.

How about college?

Obviously as an athlete, you’ve got

to be drug tested, right?

So how do you use and consume in college?

So that’s when I caught onto the pain management part. Right?

I played safety in college.

I understood after using so much, you start

to get to certain cadence for you, right?

You start to understand when you

use in the mornings and nights.

So that’s why I understood

pain management around practices.

Two a days, three a days.

I actually went to rehab my sophomore

going in my junior year in college. Ry, I’m serious.

I was using all the time,

and everybody on the team knew.

I didn’t hide it.

My eyes were always red.

I would always smell it on my fingertips. Right?

And the coach tried to look out for me around

my junior year in college, I tried to figure out

that pain management, and I tried to figure out myself,

and I was just going through it.

And that’s what got me to rehab and that’s

what got me to write the book, for sure.

That’s incredible.

Thank you so much for sharing that.

I think it’s similar to a lot of stories out there.

I think a lot of people can kind of get into

a system in their mind that it’s fun, it’s healthy, look

all around, look at all the great things it does, and

then we forget that it can smoke us, too. Absolutely.

Tell me about an average day.

So you’re in college, you’re working out in

the morning, you’re practicing two or three times

a day, you’ve got games, you’ve got school.

I mean, how much are you smoking?

Yeah, and I was smoking blunts, too.

I’ll get to your question, but I actually

listened to a guy that you were speaking

with on your radio, John Friess.

He was talking about tobacco and the

chemicals and what it does to you.

So that’s why I mentioned I was smoking a bunch, too.

But to get to your question, so an

average day in college will look like this.

I worked out in the mornings, like

all athletes at any school, right?

But I would smoke before I go workout, right?

So that’s the first thing.

If the workout was 6:00 AM, I

would wake up at 5:00 AM.

If the workout was at 9:00, I would wake up at 7:00.


So I would alter my day around that.

But in the short, I would smoke really much after

everything I did, after I ate, before I ate, it

kind of became like my go to thing.

I would say like five, six times a

day, at least two blunts a day.

Yeah, for sure. And that’s a lot.

So you were scheduling around your smoking sessions?


And as I got older, I started to use it as a reward.

Ry, you know what I mean? Okay.

I got my homework done, practice pretty good, everybody’s

cool, me and my girlfriend on a good page.

Okay, let’s smoke. You know what I mean?

So I started to do that too, for sure. Yeah.

That’s powerful because, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say all

of us, but I would assume just about all of

us has done that, has used anything, whether it’s candy

or sugar or soda or cannabis, that we reward ourselves.


We reward ourselves for that shitty task

list that’s going to take all day.

And we don’t want to do it, but we’re going to do it.

Because as soon as it’s done,

we’re going to get this sweet release.

You already know.

Yeah, I totally get it.

But I’m curious because obviously I shared with

you for me what some of the consequences

were of not intentionally and deliberately understanding what

I’m consuming and how I’m consuming and just

allowing it to smoke me as well.

But I’m curious what some

of those consequences were for you?

Ask that question in a simpler way, will you?

Yeah, absolutely.

What were some of the

negative ramifications of smoking weed?

Yes. Number one, my family started

to notice me distancing myself.

Thanksgiving, family functions, if I wasn’t high, probably

not coming. Number two in my relationship life.

Whether I was hanging out with friends, going to a bar,

or whether I was going out to eat with my girlfriend

in college at that time, I had to before and they

were like, damn, we got to wait on you.

The women were like, what are you doing?

We don’t smoke. Why are you taking?

And it started to get in the way and

they started to mention that to me and I

started to look outside myself and say, damn.

So those were a couple two.

That really stuck out to me.

And after that, I would say

the last thing really, my money.

At that time, all my money was going to it. Right?

I think that happens often around the world, but when

you’re young, all my money was going to it.

And I wouldn’t even buy in big batches either, Ry.

I was buying small grams each

day, just wasting my money.

So those are three points that really stood out to

me and I had to make a change really quick. For sure.

That’s powerful.

As a retailer of an adult use

establishment in Maine, I’m not conflicted.

People ask me all of the time if I’m conflicted.

I am not conflicted.

I have no problem investing in my community.

And I’ve had customers where I’ve said, hey, maybe you

should see if this can last you the weekend.

Not that I don’t want to see you.

Come see me tomorrow.

We’ll have a cup of coffee.

I love the social aspect of my

job, but I’m also very serious.

I stupid love my community and I

am going to look out for them.

And I don’t like the other drugs in my community.

I don’t like people using anything unsafely.

We talked about it before.

If it was up to me to rewrite the law,

it’d be twenty five before you could smoke or drink.

Like, it wouldn’t even be.

It’d be booze, too, I think.

Until your brain is formed.

I really don’t want to see a lot

of chemicals in it unless it’s needed.

I’ve never been conflicted and as I mentioned, I’ve had

people I say, just try to get through the weekend

and then we’ll hook it up again on Monday.

Well, jeez Ry, why are you cutting me off?

I said, I’m never going to cut you off.

That’s not what I’m doing. Yeah.

As your friend, I’m just telling you what I know.

Price wise, this is getting expensive.

And of course I need to feed my family

and feed my employees family, but again, not at

the expense of your wellbeing, because you come to

me and I sell you joy, for sure.

That makes me happy every day,

but I want total happiness.

I don’t want you to go home and

be like, well, now I can’t buy coffee

tomorrow because I just paid Ry at Budz Emporium.

I just don’t like that. Right. Well said, too.

And I think that’s where we kind of connected.

That’s a humanitative part of you.

And that’s why I’m happy that we

got guys like you in those shoes. For sure.

I appreciate that.

For those listening that maybe are relating

really strongly right now, what do you

have for some words of encouragement?

And how did you pull yourself out of that

system, out of that funk that you are in? Yup.

So for the words of encouragement,

I would say it’s okay to drift.

I’m going to get to that.

It’s okay to drift.

And then how I pulled myself out of it.

So I talk about it in the book, literally step

by step, and don’t let it smoke you, but I’ll

give it to you in a little bullet point fashion.

So first, I acknowledged my issue.

I was blown enough to say, hey, I do this.

I went to rehab for it in college.

The coaches know, although I didn’t pass rehab.

I just gave it up, by the way.

But my mom knows, everybody knows.

So that’s the first thing. Acknowledge it. Wear it with pride.

Who cares? Especially now.

That’s the first thing.

Just stand in it.

It helps you a lot.

Second, I would say start to understand your

internal and external goals, who you’re hanging around,

why you use, why you use, right? Why you use?

Is it used because you’re bored playing a video game?

Is it because you’re with this group of people?

Or is it because you like to use it

to go to the studio and make music?

It’s different for everyone, right?

So those are the two points I would say

that’s what helped me cut back.

Just being very open to it and

really just not being dependent around it.

I don’t like to say addiction, I don’t like

to say habits, just not being dependent to it.

So that’s kind of my couple of little nuggets there.

I hope that helps somebody, for sure.

You sound like you want to unpack some stuff. Go ahead.

Ask away.

I do.

So I guess my first question is, do you use now? Do you use today?


Still today.

Incredible. So what was mentally the biggest?

Because I think when we talked,

for me, it was just intention.

It was Mark, if I’m going to do something, I’m

writing it down, then I’m consuming it and I’m just

going to be aware because it was so easy. Right?

Especially if you own a store. Right?

It’s so easy to find pre rolls.

No, it’d be like being extremely

obese and running a buffet. Right?

Like you’ve got to be intentional

about what it is that you’re doing.

And for me, I have employees to support

and families to support and a community to

love and a business to thrive.

I’ve got to be very aware of what I’m doing.

That’s a journey, right?

Kind of wellness all in general is a journey.

I was curious if you were able to kind of

come out of your battle and your struggle and now

say, wow, that relationship with cannabis is very different.


Completely different.

Now, you don’t necessarily get over it.

You just learn how to live and deal with it.

You’re not going to say, you know what, I’m done with

cannabis, because it does help you in some point, right?

Depending on who you are, it helps

you in some way recreational or medically.

Maybe you don’t know yourself, too.

I truly believe in that.

But you asked me, you said, do I still use today? I do.

I know when it’s an asset to me.

I like to say the power of when, the power of

when they use for you and for me is different.

In mornings, nights, et cetera, and then how

you use micro dosing, et cetera, it’s different.

So I know how to use for myself, I don’t know how

to use with a group of my friends, but for myself.

So it’s different.

And that’s what I kind of hang my head on, for sure.


It is a journey, and I think often consumers, I

see it here, they come in and they ask a

question and they want that answer, and they get frustrated

with my answer, it’s a journey and I’m willing

to go on it with you.

And some of them are just like, well, no, I want to

know how many milligrams and what’s going to be the bet?

And I don’t have that answer.

I don’t know.

And frankly, if anybody does know that

answer, I’d be a little cautious.

Yeah, I’m glad you said that, Ry.

It’s growing with us hand in hand. Literally.

More cannabinoids are coming out by the day as we grow.

It’s growing with people hand in hand.

So I think we’re all kind of in a journey

and experiment and trying to figure out what works best.

For all we know, there’s a compound in

this plant that’s more psychoactive than THC.

It’s the universe inside this plant, and

we’re just starting to explore it. Absolutely.

I’m excited.

So I don’t want nobody to think that I don’t use.

I just understand how to use, use healthy and

use how I want to use, for sure.

And for those listening at home that might want

to get some tips on how to use healthier

or may just kind of need that empathetic story

of wow, somebody else gets it.

Like, there is a low point to this.

When done incorrectly, how do

they stay connected with you?

How do they find the book?

Yes, you can find the book on Amazon.

Just type in Don’t Let It Smoke You

and type in Tarris Batiste.

You can go to cleverchief.org to get the book there too.

It gives you a little bit more information

about what I have coming up, et cetera.

If you want to kind of go back

and forth, play a little verbal tennis, right,

go to dontletitsmokeyou@gmail.com. I’ll respond faster there.

But that’s how we can kind of stay connected.

Follow me on Instagram.

I’ll follow back.

I’m really here to connect. I’m really here to learn.

I’m open to it.

But I’m also here to kind of help nudge

and say, hey, just do what you do.

Just don’t let this stuff control you. For sure.

Love it.

Well, thank you so much for joining us today.

It really means a lot to me. Thank you.

Thank you for your time.

Ry, hopefully we can get some books in Maine

with you, so we get that going for sure.

And I want to know how it goes in

Maine in some ways that you kind of utilize

Don’t Let it Smoke You

So that’d be cool to know.

Absolutely. We’re excited to have the books here on the

shelf here at Budz Emporium in Medway, Maine.

Thank you, Tarris, for allowing me

to put that plug in there.

So, of course, as all of you know, all

of the links to connect with Tarris and grab

the book, Don’t Let It Smoke You

Those will be right on our show notes.

So weedbudzradio.com and then in those

show notes, we’ll have those links.

You can go purchase the book.

And of course, we are grateful for you joining

us for another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

And we’ll see you in the next one.

BUDZ UPDATE: Office of Cannabis Policy Town Hall in Bangor



Last night some of the Budz from Budz Emporium went to Bangor to take part in the town hall discussion sponsored by the Office of Cannabis Policy. Many topics were discussed and the budz brought up some urgent matters. For example, a few weeks back customers and patients were stopped by boarder patrol checkpoint between the exits on i95 Howland and Lincoln. Boarder Patrol was reminding individuals that cannabis is still federally illegal and therefore subject to confiscation. Although the individuals were let go freely their product and medicine was still taken. This is a concern for businesses within the 100 mile radius that boarder patrol covers around international lines. For a small business like Budz Emporium, should boarder patrol seize a car load of product or seize the store either scenario is something that would cripple a small family business like ours. Ultimately, the conclusion was that federal authority wins and should they decide to pull a vehicle over legally transporting cannabis the federal authorities will confiscate the product. Another team member brought up the concerns in regards to product testing and the lack thereof in the medical market. The office of cannabis policy also is concerned about this and needs the legislature to move on the subject. They also mentioned the presence of organized crime that is a significant concern within the medical market. All in all there was good conversation between stakeholders and the office of cannabis policy. I think one of the key takeaways for stakeholders is that OCP looks at themselves as compliance not law enforcement and those are two different roles with two different responsibilities. It is important to use our resources within the office to continue to move the industry forward and keep the public healths interests as our primary responsibility. Be sure to check back for more Maine Cannabis Policy Updates.

Gary Cohen and Cova Software delivers the best POS and Payment Solutions for Cannabis Retailers

Ry Russell and Gary Cohen on WeedBudz Radio

Hello Budz!  I’m excited to have a returning guest; Gary Cohen, CEO of Cova Software.  As a business owner, I have met with and researched several software platforms for my own business as we opened an adult use dispensary this year.  Cova software was the perfect solution for us and I invite you to join us to hear from Gary himself.  From first-class service to high-performance software, Gary and his team are continuously evolving to support retailers in providing a best-in-class customer experience and staying ahead of regulations and laws within the Cannabis industry.

Gary Cohen – CEO

Cova Software

Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show

Hey, budz.

Welcome back for another incredible

episode of WeedBuzz Radio.

And of course, I’m your host, Ry.

And joining me today is a guest that we’ve

had on before and one that I’m really excited

to to share with you all today.

Because as you know, we have been on

a journey in our own cannabis retail world

of Budz Emporium here in Medway, Maine.

And when you’re opening a retail store, there’s

a lot you need to think about.

And just so much going on, so much chaos.

And one of the biggest things that you need to figure out

is what are you going to use for your POS system?

And we have spoken about different companies.

We’ve spoken to Gary before, and we’ve

learned a little bit about Cova.

And so when we were getting open, we called Gary,

and Gary introduced us to his team at Cova Software.

And they took incredible care of us.

They taught us how to use this

entire system in a very tight timeline.

We were kind of under the gun.

We were just moving slow and then moved fast.

And Gary’s team was there the entire step of the way.

Even when we were delayed, they were still there

and they were still ready to help us.

And we get the system in, and it’s perfect.

And we have ATMs in, and that’s helping

us with our business and our tourists .

And then the ATMs go away

because their banks say no more.

We saw where it’s located.

So we got a debit card system, and the fees are insane.

And when you’re already paying incredible

taxes, you cannot afford incredible fees.

So what do I do in a panic, I think?

Well, who has solutions to these things?

Well, of course, our next guest, Gary

Cohen, CEO of Cova Software, always has

solutions to these types of things.

So, Gary, welcome back to WeedBudz. Thanks, Ry.

It’s great to be here.

It’s incredible to think that our journey started prior

to the pandemic and you’re one of

our first episodes of our rebranded WeedBudz radio show.

We met at MJ Bizcon, and we stayed in

touch ever since we’ve seen you in Portland, Maine.

We purchase and we invest in your

product, and we love it so much.

And it’s just been a wild ride,

and it hasn’t been that long.

Well, in marijuana years, 3 years is

like 30 in any other industry.

So time flies fast, especially in a

super high growth space like we’re in.

Speaking of super high growth, I remember a story that

you shared with us at Bizcon about your

first trade show, if you will, and kind

of where your market share was and how it grew.

And as far as I know, Cova is now

the number 1 POS software in North America.

I mean, such a lion share of the US.

And the Canadian market.

Yeah, we are.

Well, I think that your experience with us and

just so that the people listening know I love

Ry and I want to support him, but we

didn’t do anything special or different for him.

So when he reached out and said, hey, I need

to get going with something for my dispensary that I’m

finally going to get to open, I hate to say

it, but you didn’t get any special treatment.

You got like, what everyone gets so everybody

can get the Ry Russell treatment from Cova.

That’s right.

That Ry Russell treatment is a top shelf experience.

But I think that’s our secret sauce.

So I think what we did really astutely or well at

the very beginning was we were new to the industry.

Everyone was dealing.

For the most part, everyone is new to the industry.

When I think about everyone opening a dispensary, we’ve

got a lot of people who have no retail

background almost, I’d say 90% have no cannabis background.

And then you add that full compliance element into

it, where you got to do it right and

get connected up and report properly, do the taxes

properly and all that stuff, and it’s complicated.

And we set a mission to simplify that

complexity and hold your hand during the process.

So not just teach you how to use the software, but

try to educate you on, here’s what you’re getting into.

Here are the pitfalls, here’s how you can navigate through

those things, and if we could be that value added

service, not just the software, but a partner to help

you through this, that was our mission.

And when people ask, how did Cova

go on such a fast trajectory?

Because we were of the bigger POS companies, we’re the last

ones in, but we went to the top pretty fast.

And it was those 2 things, compliance and education.

There’s our secret sauce and that’s free for everybody.

But the execution is really where it lies.

Well, and I think the execution side really

comes about because of our DNA.

We spun out of a big, huge POS company.

So the know how I guess one of my

proudest moments is we got this client in Canada

that was an existing chain that had 20 dispensaries

in Ontario and didn’t go with Cova originally.

Decided they wanted to go with us,

but could we launch all 20 of their

stores by the end of the month?

So we’ll sign the thing, but in the next

25 days, can we cut over 20 stores?

And we did 20 stores perfectly.

Well, what’s behind all that is, I hate

to say it, it’s the non sexy.

Do you have processes?

Do you have people trained internally who know how to

do this stuff in scale, do it at an enterprise

level as fast, and all the parts necessary have been

figured out and everyone can get on the same page.

So that’s how you execute through experience,

document what works, what doesn’t work.

Cova has been incredibly nimble since

day 1 in self analyzing.

What are we doing now that’s not working

or that’s not the best way, and not

being stuck in, that’s the other good thing.

We’re new. The industry is new.

So instead of saying, well, that’s how we’ve

always done it, there is no always.

So the way we’re doing it isn’t

that good or it’s not that effective.

Change it, modify it, test it, does it work better?

There’s the story of execution.

Well, when I think about

that Ry Russell treatment that I got,

I felt like I was just obsessed with, just

everybody just took such good care of you.

Well, you know what’s underneath that?

Not to cut you off, but one of those things that

happened was we started looking at every dispensary or set

of dispensaries or chain of dispensaries as a project.

And I’m not a process guy, but there’s a

whole discipline in the world called project management.

And there’s a proper way to manage a project.

Whether you’re building a house or

remodeling kitchen or building a road

or designing software, it’s a project.

And there’s a way to define what

you’re trying to do, assign people responsibilities,

go through a set of steps.

And when you think about you being obsessed on,

that’s the project, right, your store was a project,

and there’s all kinds of people who got assigned

to your project and they are obsessed on it.

That’s their thing.

And they know what they’re supposed to do

relative to your timeline, store size, way that

you want to operate the store.

So anyhow, I’m giving you all the secret sauce.

But it is, but it’s not as,

it’s not like we’re geniuses.

These are just taking the things that work that

are generally accepted ways of the optimal way to

do business or do a piece of business and

applying it to our industry, which is brand new.

And guess what?

Most of the other players in our

industry, they’re not on that page yet.

They will be someday.

But we kind of came into this

going, well, there’s project management discipline.

How are we going to put that in?

And I’ve always been obsessed with the

consumer because that’s ultimately what my side

of the supply chain is focused on.

However, I was really inspired by the level

of service and care from your team.

And I mean, just to your point, they were

foreshadowing where I was and helping me be prepared

for something that I did not even know that

I needed to be prepared for.

And that is something that we really try to

tailor that experience for our guests as well.

Maybe a 5% of concentrate is stupid.

We don’t know our customers.

This customer only smokes flower.

And that’s what I felt like with your team as they

really got to know me and kind of tailored that experience.

And maybe I didn’t take some

of the generally accepted best practices.

I was like, I don’t want to do it that way.

And your team be like, okay, well, how do you want

to do it and how can we make it fit?

So it’s streamlined within the way you will execute.

So it was just incredible.

And obviously as we got going and we learned

more, it was the right fit for us.

But one of the questions that came up for us

was, you hear about metric and seed to sale tracking

and you’re worried about compliance and all of this stuff,

and there’s so many point of sale systems out there

that it was hard to kind of tell, like, do

I need seed to sale software?

Do I need retail POS software.

Can you help kind of break that down for other

people that might have kind of been on that journey?

Like I was, what’s the difference and

what does a retailer really need?

That’s a great question.

What you just asked has become

a marketing induced complexity in terminology.

So when I started Cova, seed to

sale and traceability were a synonymous concept.

It was when you plant a seed gets big enough, how

are we going to track that seed as it becomes a

plant all the way through the supply chain to when the

chain of custody gets handed over to the end user, the

customer, and it’s a chain of custody thing.

This whole concept of traceability and seed

to sale is because A, states like your

state that went medicinal, it’s a medicine.

So can we implement some of the

process and thinking around tracking medicine?

What happens if a medicine is tainted or bad or we got

to go catch it, get it out of the supply chain, or

get it out of the hands of the person who bought it?

Kind of like tainted Tylenol.

And when you think about a box of Tylenol and

it’s got the lot number, expiration date, it’s got all

kinds of stuff stamped into that bottle that’s so that

if something’s bad we know exactly which batch to go

find, get off the shelves and protect people.

So that’s traceability.

Now the second benefit to traceability is

you’ve got something that’s federally legal.

So from the state perspective, to be able

to say to the federal government, hey, we’re

watching this marijuana seed from when it’s planted all

the way through the supply chain, we’re going

to track it so that it doesn’t divert.

That’s a big concept is diversion so that the

legal cannabis doesn’t divert out of the supply chain,

gets sold out, the back door, stolen, or inbound

diversion, we’re going to get illegal or unlicensed product

or untested product into the supply chain.

So we’re going to put

in this whole traceability system.

And that way if I go into a store and

I go, this product is not licensed, or this product

was never tested, I can trace it all back and

go, I know what’s Kosher and not in the store.

Well, where everything got confusing is when people,

some of my competitors, started saying we sell

seed to sale software because originally seed to

sale was the state traceability systems, which was

either bio tracker, metric, and then for a

brief period, leaf Data Systems was in it,

but those were traceability and traceability receipts of

sale and it was a state implemented system.

But then they switched it over to vertical software.

And instead of calling their product vertically integrated

software, meaning it’s software that can help you

manage and track your grow or your MIP,

your manufacturing operation or your retail.

And you have a vertically integrated business that does

all of those aspects of the supply chain.

And our software is vertically integrated to

connect internally on our side, the software

side with all those pieces.

And they started calling it seed to sale.

And that’s what made everything confusing.

The truth is, there’s grow management software, there’s

manufacturing software where you’re taking raw products and

you’re turning them into some sort of other

product and then there’s retail software.

Now, I’ll say this one thing, it’s very

rare in any industry that someone does all

of the pieces of the supply chain well.

Usually, if you’re a farmer, there’s great agricultural software

to help me understand what goes into my crop and

my product and the mechanics of that, that are tracking

yields, what are we putting in and what are we

getting out and what’s working and what’s not.

That’s grow management

software, manufacturing software,

it’s like whether you’re a coke plant or a

cookie bakery or you’re making razor blades, manufacturing

is a process and you’re measuring and managing the

process and there’s great software for that.

And then lastly, there’s retail software

that’s all about running a store.

It’s very rare that any company does all of that great.

Lastly, in our industry, because of metric or because

of state traceability systems, it doesn’t matter whether you

have a software that can do all three of

those things at every stage of the product’s life,

it has to be reported to the state through

that state traceability system.

So there’s no states where I can bypass that.

And within my software, I can make it

transfer it to my store, and I’m done.

And I can keep everything within my software platform

and it’ll see and talk to each other.

Because the validation step that’s got to happen

in every state is, here’s the plant that

I planted, here’s how big it got.

Now I’ve harvested, I got to tell the

state what I’ve harvested, then I got to

tell the state where is it going?

Even if it’s going to my own store,

I can’t just move it in my software.

I have to go to the state.

The state transfers it to the

next place in the supply chain.

And I think that the misnomer about

one software can do it all.

It doesn’t work that way and the

benefit you get is minimal, if anything.

One last thing, and I know I’m throwing arrows at some

of my competitors but I’m going to throw them anyway.

And that is when I ask people what’s the best advantage you

get out of seed to sale software, as they call it?

The number 1 answer is single sign on.

I just have 1 login password,

I don’t have to remember 3.

Well, in the grand scheme of things, I know that’s

a convenient thing but I don’t know if that justifies

the hundreds or thousands of dollars a month.

But anyhow so my recommendation is always go out,

look at the best in breed for if you

got to grow, there’s amazing growth management.

That is software that is easy

and sophisticated to use as Cova.

Same for manufacturing and then that’s

what we do in the retail.

And similarly on the payment side, there are

many competitors and there are many advertised claims,

if you will, and it gets murky.

Some offer part of a fee and some

of that fee goes the retailer and that

kind of incentivizes them to go there.

Some just have exorbitant fees on the consumer, no fees

on the retailer and then there’s others where there’s fees

on everybody and it just gets so confusing.

And I think we reviewed probably 4, 5

There aren’t too, too many.

But there are a handful of payment

solutions out there because as I mentioned.

Our ATMs just no longer became an option for us and

we had to act quick and we got a system in

and it was working but then it was declining all of

our Canadian customers and for us that’s a big market for

us right here on the Canadian border.

And so that was a surprise and we kind

of got through that and moved through that hurdle.

And then I started seeing the daily fees I was

paying and I was like, man, I’m already paying all

of these other taxes and I’m already paying these fees.

Yes, it’s cheaper than the ATMs for the consumer

but it’s not necessarily a better all around product.

And then talking to Nick and I’m asking some

of your team, there’s got to be a solution.

A day later I get an email there’s Cova pay and

I’m all excited and I met with your team and I

don’t know if I was the first person to reply, but

I’d say as soon as that you’re one of the first.

Yeah, I was right on that email and same thing.

Your entire team is knowledgeable.

They explained it to me, how it’s going to

impact my consumer, which is the number 1.

Number 2 was the fees and number 3

was, can my simpleton brain make it work?

If it matches that criteria, then we’re pretty solid.

And it did.

It was a better product for the consumer,

it’s way more cost effective for us and

the lines of communication are there.

I know that when I provide feedback, it goes up.

It goes all the way up until it

gets to you if it needs to.

But your team is so educated that I’m sure

most of the time it doesn’t even need to.

And so I think within 72 hours, we

had a plan, like an execution plan together

of how we’re going to pull this off.

And so that alone stands out.

But I’d love for you to just kind of give

a brief synopsis, if you will, of what Cova pay

is and what the advantages are for retailers.

Well, I don’t know if this is

a good story or a bad story.

Since we launched.

Which will be 5 years in November.

I’ve literally gotten 3 calls a week.

Every single week from some payment

provider wanting to partner with Cova.

Because when you’re connected to the POS.

It’s the holy grail.

And it’s whether it’s a fully integrated

solution or it’s a standalone solution.

One way or another.

Payment and POS in other industries was like

an inflection in technology and customer experience.

Everything kind of gelled when

payments and POS got married.

So everyone was contacting us.

And honestly, our board and the company we

spun out with is so skittish about risk.

They don’t want anything bad to happen to Cova,

and they don’t want anything bad, and we don’t

want anything bad to happen to our customers.

So as a result, we were incredibly

slow in getting an integrated payment solution.

And we were incredibly slow at even

getting a non integrated payment solution.

And a non integrated payment solution.

Like when you go to a restaurant or Jiffy

Lube or something and they say, it’s going to

be $114, how are you going to pay?

I’m going to pay with a credit card.

You give them your credit card, they type

in $114 in a separate little payment terminal,

and then they swipe your card.

Well, if it’s that kind of experience, if

they have to type in the amount from

the purchase of the purchase, it’s not integrated.

They call it a swivel chair because you’re

doing this system and you do that, you

come back to the system and finish it.

So it took us over 2 years

to get US a vetted payment solution.

That was a swivel chair.

And the reason that we were so slow and

there were other companies in our space that have

been doing payments for years and years, but to

find one that was relatively safe, they had send

certification, which is an element of banking.

Accreditation is very rare.

And you go, well, Gary, how did

you have like hundreds call you?

Well, because they’re not legit for cannabis.

So the US

banking system will not bank the cannabis industry

because Visa and Mastercard are federal banks.

And if it’s federally illegal, they won’t touch it.

So then all these other guys are just masking who

the customer is. I could tell you the funniest.

Like, I’ve got 100 stories of a

guy going, wait, just talk to me

because we figured it out.

We know because of the Spanish Falkland Island

Act of 1435, you can actually run payments

through the Falklands on this international treaty.

That is totally legit.

I’m just looking at them like, that’s the

biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve ever heard.

This is the definition of money laundering. Yes.

That’s all this is.

Then you get the next guy who’s

saying, no, we figured it out.

We convert the payment to crypto.

We process the crypto through London.

They turn it back into cash.

It gets back into your bank

account in 7 to 10 days.

That’s money laundry.

You’ve diverted money into another form to pull it

back into usable currency, and you can’t do it.

So then you ask, Well, Gary, why don’t you just do it?

All your competitors are doing it.

And then dispensaries, guys come to you, Ry

and go, hey, we’ll do your payment processing.

They probably hit you up a couple of times a

week because you’re a bridge.

Every day.

You’re an new retailer.

And how are we going to do it?

How are you going to get away with it?

Oh, we’ve got it figured out.

They all say the same thing.

Well, we wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole.

And I can tell you, it cost us opportunity, because if

someone else is going to do it, some other POS company

is going to do it, and it’s what we want.

So we were just cautious.

So when we finally found people that, oh, wait,

where I was going was, what’s, the cost?

So what’s the big deal?

Are you going to go to jail?

No, nobody’s going to go to jail

if you use Jim’s credit card processing.

But what’s going to happen is in the

time it takes to clear your funds.

So if your dispensary does 50 transactions a day, and

let’s say half of them are on debit or credit,

and so 25 transactions at an average of $70.

So that comes out to, let’s say it’s couple thousand

dollars a day over the course of a week, that’s

$14,000 that your money is somewhere in processing.

Well, once they find out that you’re dispensary and in

the layers of credit card processing, someone discovers it to

pull the plug, you don’t get the $14,000.

You’ll never see cash on us.

Well, in most dispensaries, like, it would crush

anyone who has budgeted and planned on that

money and the money goes away, then the

next guy that you switch to happens again.

And the lifespan before the plug gets pulled is

usually about 2 and a half to 3 months.

So if 4 times a year you’re losing $14,000

to $15,000, what is $60,000 a year significant?

Probably so.

That’s why we didn’t do it.

Well, let’s go to Cova Pay.

So what Cova Pay

is, it’s debit.

It’s not credit, but we’ve got a provider that is

legally sanctioned to do debit only, long track record.

So we found a partner that it’s safe, like it’s

safe for us, which means it’s safe for our clients.

And we’ve done the work to integrate it.

And the big difference so, you know, when you

think about the customer experience swiping, like entering the

amount swiping versus your total is $114.

We will take debit or cash and they go, debit. Sure.

Give me your card.

Swipe it done.

It’s not that much time.

The difference is in reconciliation.

So at the end of the day, we sold

$1000. $700 of it was cash, $300 was debit.

And in the POS in Cova, as you

process it, you hit cash or debit.

So we know what it should have been.

But then when you pull the tape off of your

credit card or debit card readers, it says $250.

So now we got to find which one

of the sales adds up to the $50.

What if it was a $30 and a $20?

Somehow some manager every night got to figure out

how to reconcile the money in an integrated solution.

The fact that it got swiped, it’s debit, so no one has

to go, which button do I push to try to keep account?

So that’s a long way of saying it’s good from that.

The way you manage your store every day, it’s

even better in your records and reporting because now

at the end of the month, I can pull

a report and it tells me exactly what my

cash sales were, debit sales, if there’s any problems.

All the records are all associated payment type

with what was sold, I think, the most.

Now, here’s one last thing.

Everyone always, how did Cova get so big

and we didn’t have a payment solution?

Well, one of the things in a

market like Maine is you’ve educated

the market to show up with cash.

Or if you don’t have cash, we have an ATM.

So 90% of dispensaries haven’t, have or had an ATM.

The ATMs are actually going away at

a faster and faster rate now.

But you could go over there and

get cash, get out of line.

We’ll hold your sale, go get some money out.

But we’ve trained people.

This is how it works.

Now, tourists don’t know.

That’s who pulls out a credit card.

It’s all I got.

But the percentage of Americans that have a debit card

is something like in the 80 percentile, and the ones

with a credit card are in the 60 percentile.

So more people have debit than they have credit.

And the average per transaction is

almost 15% to 20% higher

when I can just keep adding things to the basket

and I don’t have to worry I only took $60 out

of the ATM, I’m not going to go back, pay

another fee and take another $30 to get more.

So they just keep adding to the basket. We’ve had so many

times where people are like, oh man, I only have $40.

Do you take card?

And we’ll say, well, we take a debit card.

Can I grab that, that and that?

Exactly. So it’s good for everybody, it’s

good for the customer, it’s good for you.

And the whole Cova Pay thing, I think what you’ll

wind up seeing strategically is, as it grows and gains

more and more adoption,

it’ll offset all kinds of other fees.

So subscription fees, CRM and loyalty.

E-commerce, that’s the other thing.

We’ll be adding a US e-commerce component.

So you can just pay on,

you could pay online.

That’s kind of cool too.

That’s amazing.

So one of the things that we’re preparing for, Gary, and

I know Brooke would be mad if I didn’t ask you,

is that as we continue to grow our retail business, the

state of Maine is looking at delivery for adult use.

And it’s something that we’re looking at very closely.

And I’m just curious.

Obviously you have a lot

of wisdom about different markets.

I was wondering if you had any insights on how

does delivery impact a retail business and will these solutions

be able to be integrated once delivery is available?

The answer is yes, they all will be.

Cova is partnered now with delivery software.

So we have a really great

partner in a company called Webjoin.

And to answer your question, at a bigger

level, as a market matures, delivery will become

more and more of a thing.

And the reason is, at the early stages

of a market, customers don’t know the form

factors that they can consume cannabis.

They don’t know which types they want.

Like, am I a Sativa guy?

Am I hybrid?

They don’t know all that stuff.

And that education that you do in the store is

not only vital to them, but it helps build that

trust and it helps build your store, all of that.

It’s necessary and it’s vital to both sides.

So a retail store at the start of a

cannabis market is one of the greatest things and

necessary things to get the industry off the ground.

But over time, people figure out, this is

what I like. I’m a this kind of guy.

Here’s how I like to consume it.

I don’t really need help anymore.

I know what I want.

Well, the next phase is order online, pick up in store.

So I don’t really need hand holding. I’m just going.

Can I go online?

Can I order it? Can I call you?

Can you set it aside.

I’ll come in, and then the next step is delivery.

I don’t need to even go to the store.

Now you’re providing that convenience factor,

I think delivery, again, in our

industry, it’s a patchwork of states.

No 2 states are alike.

The regs are different in every single state.

And the delivery regs are even more

convoluted because of their hyperness to security,

to when you think about

that seed to sale.

Well, what’s going on between the

retail store and the end point?

Should we be tracking it?

Where is the marijuana?

Like, that was the whole point of traceability.

Where’s the pot at all times?

Well, is the pot driving by a junior high, stopping?

It’s kind of scary.

So some states want to know, like, does

your software set a route, and then does

your software have GPS tracking to make sure

they followed the route they didn’t deviate?

Does your software say they deviated

and they actually went to the strip

bar that they shouldn’t have gone to?

Chances are the guy’s selling a bunch out of the back of

the delivery car and then he went back on his route.

Every state is different of how

much do we want to watch?

Every state is different about what

type of vehicle can be used.

Can it be a private vehicle?

Does it have to be a certain type of vehicle where,

like, in Missouri, the driver cannot be able to access the

storage of the cannabis, which needs to be in a locked

in a locked box or a safe in the vehicle, but

he can’t get to it from the driver’s seat.

He’s got to get out, go around.

So it’s almost a van or some sort of delivery vehicle.

Then you’ve got the issue of insurance.

Who’s going to insure it?

How much do we have to insure it for?

It adds all kinds of overhead.

The worst state, Missouri, when they wrote

up the original delivery guidelines, they had

2 cars for every delivery.

They had a car with the

cannabis and a security car following.

And you talk about, like, the

dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.

And the good news was, enough voices

jumped in and went, nobody does that.

You can’t do that.

It just kills the whole and they were

trying to deliver medicine to people who couldn’t

come and get their medicine, right.

So the intent was there.

The execution on a realistic basis was just ridiculous.

So delivery, in my opinion, delivery will be part of the

industry in every state in the next 2, 3 years.

And it makes sense.

It’s a win-win for everybody.

The thing is, if your state over regulates

it, you need to charge $20 on top

of whatever you’re doing for a delivery fee.

And now you’re pricing it out for people who

don’t have a car, can’t get to the store,

so there’s nuances to it, but it’s coming.


Well, Gary, I’m so excited to get to

connect with you again and catch up.

I feel like we do this once a year, so

we’re going to need to do it more often.

I just appreciate the time we get together.

Well, me too.

Honestly, my time going to Maine was the greatest.

Like, I couldn’t be more of a Maine fan,

and I haven’t been there in a year.

Like, I got to get back.


I will tell you right now, for Maine,

it is hot as it can get.

I think we’ve had a couple of

mid or low 90 degree days.

So I know for you, you’ve experienced that.

But up here in the northeast,

you don’t get that too often.

But another month or so and we’ll have to

bring you north of Portland to where we are

next time, the lakes and the mountains, Gary.

I can’t wait. Well, Ry

it’s great to see you.

It’s great to see you and it’s great to

see all of you tuned in to WeedBudz radio.

Be sure to head over to WeedBudzradio.com,

check out those show notes, links

to connect with Gary and Cova Pay.

And, of course, we’ll see you in the next episode.

Grit and Innovation in the Hemp Industry with Franny Tacy

Hello & welcome to today’s episode of Weed Budz Radio!  We welcome back our friend, Franny Tacy of Franny’s Farmacy.  From seed to retail, Franny has been a long-time leader in the industry of hemp and hemp production.

Join us today to hear from Franny on what gives her staying power in the industry and why so many businesses fail.  Franny also shares how she found new love and a new love for pasta which is now about to launch as a new product platform for the Franny’s Farmacy franchise.

Guest: Franny Tacy
Franny’s Farmacy

Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz Radio

Support the show


Hey, budz.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m really excited today because it has been 2

years and a week or so since we last

had had Franny Tacy on the show.

And as you all remember, Franny has an

incredible brand from seed to retail, just an

absolutely gorgeous product, and we got to see

some of it in our trip to Connecticut.

And those of you that follow us on Instagram saw how

amazing that visit was when we got to meet our friend

Mike and Griff and just had an incredible experience.

And now, as an operator of a retail

establishment in the cannabis industry, I need help.

And there’s only one person that I could

think of to go to for some help.

So joining us back on WeedBudz Radio is Franny.

Franny, thank you so much.

You know, I’m loving this.

I am loving this.

It is so much fun to reconnect.

It’s been incredible.

I can’t believe that the first time I saw you,

you were speaking virtually at a conference because the pandemic

had hit and we couldn’t do anything anymore.

And you just really brought it down.

And I’ve never seen anybody so

captivating in a virtual format.

And I was lucky enough to know your PR

partner, and we were able to connect and get

talking, and it’s just been a great relationship since

following your journey and vice versa, and just seeing

how the stores have grown from a couple of

company owned stores to some franchises to some other

exciting things that we’re going to talk about today.

So there’s a lot of glamour in what we do.

And I think often when people find out, Franny, that I

own an adult use cannabis establishment, that there’s some sort of

badge of honor there that I was unaware of.

And so I would just like to hear from you.

Is it truly glamorous being in this side of

the industry and being in this industry because you

make it look such. You are so sweet.

You see, I’m, like, absolutely cracking up.

There is a perception of that, and I think

it’s because neat like you, we’re digging and talking.

We’re like, oh, yeah, we’ve got a podcast to do.

I think part of the illusion that it’s

glamorous is because we’re living our passion.

I mean, I’m living my passion, and I live on a farm

that was the first farm in North Carolina to plant hemp.

This is passion.

I work for a plant.

I cannot not do what I do.

So I love what I do.

I mean, I do a lot of it

between manufacturing and distribution, we’re in 6 states,

expanding in 7 states, with CBD and hemp.

And now we’ve done applied for retail licenses

in recreational and Connecticut now really getting back

to people are seeing these new things that

I’m launching, which are the textiles and the

foods, and they’re like, girl, what’s up?

I work for a plant.

I work for a plant.

I cannot stop, but it’s not glamorous.

My home has like 4 pieces of furniture in it.

But granted, I have 14 different lodging options

on my farm that are fully furnished.

They all have toilet paper, soap, and

every type of dish you could want.

My own home I’m like I’m a visitor in sometimes,

so we may make it look a little glamorous.

I like to think that’s not the real thing.

No, if you’re grinding I mean, I live as simple of

a life that I can because objects just kind of get

in the way and they accumulate and they slow you down.

I have a nice roof over my head.

I sleep comfortably, but I pretty much sit on the

floor when I’m home because I’m not there often enough

to go to the retail store and buy a lawn chair.

Just not worth it to me.

Well, we laugh because I have lodging.

So in my house, who knows what could be in there?

But I always have the backup, extra refrigerators and beds, so

there’s no such thing as a sofa in my house.

There’s mattresses on the floor, which is

that’s where we’re going to sit. There you go.

If we sit.

And I have 2 air mattresses

here at the store, so we’ve got, like, the store and

then our little studio space and then the warehouse.

And there’s definitely been times, especially in the

winter, where it’s just not worth it to

go home after it’s been snowing all day.

And you’ll have to shovel to get in and

then you’ll have to shovel to get out.

It’s sometimes more worth it to just blow

up that air mattress and take a power

nap and get right back to work.

I mean, whether you’ve been in the business 15 years

or 5 years or 5 months, this changes every day.

And a good store is going to face lift their

store and re merchandise every day and every week.

Anyway, this business, you have to do all

that while learning new laws, while the laws

completely change the next week, and then they

might change back or change into something else.

And you always have to stay on top of it.

And so there’s not a lot of

free time when you’re doing it right.

I’ve definitely seen some people that make it

look very glamorous, but their retail shops don’t

seem to stay open too, too long.

So I think right now we’re all just kind of trying

to ride into the wave, maybe, and see what happens.

And there’s nobody that I know that’s ridden into

the wave faster or stronger than you have.

And so when we last talked, like I mentioned,

you had a couple of company owned stores.

I think you had just got

into your first franchise store.

So where are we now?

Because I’m seeing a lot

of growth in Franny’s Farmacy.

Well, and I appreciate the fact

that you said strong and fast.

I say strong and one foot in front of the other.

It doesn’t feel fast because it’s all always

done about long term and building the brand

and being built to last and growing a

business like a plant with strong roots.

So we got our 3

corporate stores rocking and rolling.

We figured out the system.

And while it’s doing that, it took 2 years and

hundreds of thousands of dollars to be able to franchise.

Because I was consulting for people, they

were like, how are you doing this?

It’s not banking as usual.

It’s not marketing, credit card processing, website.

Nothing is business as usual.

I have had 11 businesses before

this while working in pharmaceuticals.

So that’s what inspired me to do franchising.

And so we’ve got 4 dispensaries

in Georgia, all different franchise owners.

South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Connecticut

opening New York next.

So we just keep expanding all in

very strategic ways in states, in Connecticut.

I don’t know if I said that.

So giving people a path to success.

Because even when you give people a plan, we

send kids to school every day and we have

a plan how everybody’s going to succeed.

But we still have 30% of kids that don’t graduate

from high school and they can’t follow that plan.

So if you set somebody up as

an entrepreneur, that’s never been that before,

we’ve had 90% of businesses that have opened in

cannabis in the space we’re in, Ry, have closed.

They don’t make it.

They don’t make it.

And so that is part of what the inspiration is for me.

I feel like as I’m getting older, I’m

going to have a birthday next week.

I’ll be 53.

They say it happens to these women when they get older.

It’s like, what is my role now?

My kid has grown, he’s

self sufficient, all these things.

I was like, what is this?

This is my service.

My team is my family.

I can’t do this without them.

To see what has happened to make all these

and you’re talking about keeping up the laws.

We just had D-8 outlawed

in Virginia and in Connecticut.

And now how we have to pivot to be

in all these states and really doing business.

That’s part of the reason we stayed small.

There’s franchises out there that went and opened 600 stores

in 2 years and they’ve closed 80% of them.

Because it was about making money.

It wasn’t about cannabis.

I work for a plant.

The longevity and the story.

The industry needs me.

The community, our country, history needs us, Ry.

To be successful and keep telling the story.

Because I will be doing this in another 40

years or as long as I walk this planet.

I will be working this plant

in some way, shape or form.

So destigmatizing, educating while remaining profitable in business,

and making money while developing and offering a

service is the greatest gift that I could

do to wake up every day too.

Sometimes people like, how do you wake up?

I’m like, oh, I’ll wake up.

Oh, your body wakes you up.

Ever since we got the store going,

I don’t even have an alarm anymore.

I’m excited to get to the store.

And you mentioned running these businesses

profitably because that’s the biggest challenge.

It’s really easy to throw up a cannabis store and have

people come in and appreciate what you have to sell.

Running a profitable business in this space is the

hardest thing I have personally had to do.

And you know, I have run profitable

businesses in other industries multiple times.

And it’s not like this.

And the margins have never been this tight.

And the margin of error has never been this small.

So do you have any tips, be it executionally

that you’ve implemented that keeps your businesses profitable?

It is always, always keeping on top of it.

And the good thing about me is in

business is that I am so systems oriented.

System, system, system and accountability.

Accountability is the hardest thing because people love

to work in their silos so that they

can’t be scolded, reprimanded, reprimanded challenged.

We don’t do that.

We do not operate in that environment.

We cannot be successful in that environment

because the business is so dynamic.

It’s not like everything is now, to be

honest, between COVID, between recessions, between Ukraine, every

single person that is staying in business and

over 60% of businesses across the entire country

have turned over in the past 3 years.

You’ve got to be flexible, nimble, small and on point.

And it takes a team.

No individual person can do all these

things and no individual person is successful.

And that is what the cannabis

industry I call it hemp fever.

And the symptoms are egomaniac.

I’m going to get rich.

So there’s like a couple of indications, like I’m

going to do this, I’m going to do this.

No, don’t tell me what you’re going to do.

Tell me what you’ve done.

Yeah, okay.

Because people are selling everybody else

on what they’re going to do.

And that is why the industry has gotten a bad rap.

People said, oh, great, you can do it.

And everybody believes the white man is

the one to do it, right?

No, no, no, no, no.

They got hemp fever.

I have an ex husband that had hemp fever.

No, you build this with the right.

It’s new.

Any new industry is the toughest place to be.

That’s not your get rich in the new industry.

It’s when the new industry all of a sudden

hits the bell curve and everybody else caught on.

If you can make it through

there, it’s the toughest time.

And that’s where we are.

We still have not even begun to tap the market.

We’re less than 10% of

Americans that are cannabis consumers.

We have a whole world and market.

But we got to stay small and profitable and smart.

Because if you’re not profitable.

You’re not in business, and you’re not helping anybody.

You can’t help people by sacrificing yourself.

That’s the toughest thing here.

I’m not just opening a store in

some part of Maine for convenience sake.

I chose probably the hardest.

I chose where my heart is.

It is a beautiful region with mountains and lakes.

There’s no people, there’s not a huge population.

It’s very conservative.

My grandparents were ministers in this

region, and there’s a whole community

of anti-cannabis individuals and people here.

I just had a lunch meeting, and one

of the people asked me what my grandparents

would have thought of me doing this.

And I’m so blessed I got to tell 3 of my

4 grandparents what I was doing before I got to do

it, and was blessed by them to do that.

Both of my grandparents that were ministers

more than gave me their blessing.

They both utilized the plant

for different things for themselves.

And so it’s so special.

I know your family plays a

big role in your business, too.

We’re like siblings for different parents because my

dad was an ordained deacon, and I have

a whole family of Episcopal ministers.

And my dad believed three things god, family, and farm.

That’s it.

And when he passed away in a tractor accident

two weeks before, I planted my first hemp crop.

But he was there that whole time supporting me.

Everybody’s like, oh, what’s Daddy going to say?

Oh, what’s Daddy, what’s the family going to say?

And what this plant has done for my family.

They call me the gateway in my family now.

They’re like, oh, you’re the gateway to all this

stuff that we hear about, but nobody conservative.

Nashville, Tennessee, so conservative.

And it’s a similar story, how much has helped them

and how proud they were that I could stand up.

I mean, it meant everything to have my

dad, your grandparents, to say, you believe in

this, and we believe in you.

Yeah, it is special.

And it’s funny because the town we’re in is called Medway,

and there’s a sign as soon as you get off the

highway that says Medway, the gateway to the Katahdin region.

And Katahdin is the largest mountain in Maine.

And so we are right here off the highway.

So we’re your gateway to cannabis too.

So it’s a perfect little ecosystem here, but it

is it’s such a fine line to draw because

I love this community so much, and I want

a business to succeed here without me.

I want businesses to succeed here, and

I want there to be pride here. It’s a milltown.

There used to be a lot

of pride, and we’re lacking that.

And I just want to see that come back.

And so for us, I want to just give everything away.

If it was up to me everything’s free

and it’s not possible to do that.

There’s no way for me to stay here and

be the engine for entrepreneurial development in this region

if I can’t keep my own businesses afloat.

And so it’s a fine line because you have

to stay profitable in order to compete long term.

And I think a lot of companies look at this like

the tech space of just acquire more users, acquire more users,

and then you’ll be able to sell that to a degree.

But that’s not just it.

You have to have the empathy.

You have to have the understanding and

the compassion for the plant and the

community in order to be successful.

That acquire new users is what

has put everybody out of business.

Because every cannabis business for the years

has been speculating and operating at a

20% loss is standard for everything.

So if you’re a million dollar

business, you’re going to lose $200,000.

That year was the standard.

Competing for the new users.

We’re going to go capture the market.

We’ll catch up on the back end.

This is a lot of like the millennial

thing that I love Millennials, but there’s a

lot of people like, we don’t like it.

They uber eat, they get, they order in their food,

they get a ride across town, all this stuff.

But that is what was a detriment to many businesses.

Instead of getting in and building a

business, they’re like, we’re going to overspend

over market to capture the users.

And it’s all smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.

We’re so great, we’re so good.

No, you’re not.

You’re not running a good business, and that’s

why you’re going to be out of business.

And we have seen the biggest companies, the one

that had $50,000 boost at the Expo and all

the private parties and everything, where are they now?


Because I’ve been speaking at events across this

country since 2017, and in the first 2

years, I talked to 30,000 farmers.

Where are those people now? Good business.

And pay something else if the USDA I’m

celebrating my 10 year anniversary on the farm.

So it was long before hemp was legal, and when

I got my loan, it was a USDA loan.

And I’m a shepherdist, according to the USDA.

For Katahdin sheep.

Hold on Katahdin mountain.

Yes, it’s a hair sheep of neat sheep.

We have sheep on our farm, but no kidding.

That’s so cool.

Well, you need to get up here and visit anyway.

I would love to in the summer months, please.

Well, it’s 92 right now, so I feel like that’s

probably fairly accommodating to what you want, but not me.

That is way too hot for us.

So I want to ask you because I was

talking to a mutual friend of ours and he

shared a rumor with me that you’ve got some

really cool things going on with Franny’s Farmacy.

I don’t want to say in a traditional sense

because there’s nothing traditional but what we do, but

outside of the retail and the manufacturing space and

that you were exploring an opportunity in another market

but still under Franny’s Farmacy.

So do you have any truth to this rumor?

I heard that it might be a food truck of sorts.

So freaking cool. Yes.

So Franny’s is as we’ve been evolving.

It’s really the brand.

The first year I planned was for food and fiber.

Guess what?

I keep talking about business and going back.

There’s no business in that, right?

So we explore the medicinal

path, which made perfect sense.

I was in pharmaceuticals, but my love and my passion

and we keep coming back to this, is food.

And so we have Franny’s Pasta and Prana, which prana

is breath, pasta and prana is our new food truck.

But the story is, I got divorced, never swore off

every man ever on the face of the planet.

And it’s like, as soon as you

say you swear them off, they’re everywhere.

And I’m like, gosh.

But then fell in love with my best friend, who

is also my yoga teacher and a pasta man.

And as a gift of love to me, he put hemp and pasta.

He makes pasta, and he sells it

at the market, and he teaches yoga.

And I said, honey, I love you, but I don’t like pasta.

I’ll be sitting on that all day long and wearing

it on my thighs, and it doesn’t feel good.

And I’m very gluten and tolerant.

And he put hemp in there, and I

was like, how did you do this?

It’s like, well, I spent $20 on

1 pound of hemp, and we made this.

So the past year has been this introduction

of how do we put hemp into pasta?

What’s the nutritional information?

How do we scale up?

How do we manufacture it?

I’ve been running around to all these events.

Like, when we were at NOCO, we bring our

cooler bag with us and filled with hemp pasta.

And Dan Herre and all our other

buddies are eating this hemp pasta.

They said we need to go cook some at Marijuana Mansion.

We show up there for a party,

and everyone’s like, we love this. We want this.

And I was like, that is so cool. It’s coming.

I mean, a year, it takes so long

for people to do what we do.

And so sometimes it’s a lot of pressure

because people expect a lot from me.

They’re like, oh, Franny, you’re doing it should be

5 star, and why haven’t you done this, this, this?

And I was like, hey, this takes a

lot of courage to do what I’m doing.

And this is a passion project, and

it’s 1 foot in front of the other.

And just last week, we officially launched it.


Love Shine Play Festival, which is a yoga festival.

So they’re all into the health and nutrition and, like,

one little serving of pasta with hemp in it.

Hemp flour, the superfood high in omegas and

has 20 to 25 grams of protein.

It’s a superfood. The gnocchi has 25 grams of protein

because it has eggs and cheese in it.

But the regular cut pasta, 20

grams of protein, it is amazing.

We’ve already I had 2 people from the press

show up today to interview me about this pasta

They’re like, what’s going on?

Why have we never heard about it?

I said, because it doesn’t exist.

It doesn’t exist.

5 years ago, it was illegal

to even grow hemp for food.

And so I was the first person in the country

to do a Ted Talk on hemp in 2018.

Hemp is a crop.

What is hemp as a crop? I’m a farmer. I love to farm.

I love food and land.

The only crop that could feed

clothe, shelter and provide medicine.

Well, as a businesswoman, I had

to take the medicinal route.

As a businesswoman, building a brand, we need to

continue to let people know how amazing hemp is.

So by introducing the superfood and now

we have other things that are infused.

You can get CBD oil on it.

You can do this infusion it is opening.

People are floored.

Educated, smart.

People are like, what do you mean hemp for food?

We see it, but they think

edibles is the biggest division.

Right before this, we were having business talks.

What’s your top sellers?

What’s the market?

There’s now stores that are opening that are only edibles,

they don’t have bags, they don’t have anything.

Just edibles.

And so the community in our society, as

we’re educating and destigmatizing cannabis, they think that

all food has THC or CBD in it.

Right. Now, we get to distinguish. No, it’s super food.

So this, I don’t know if you can see it.

That’s a little picture.

We got a little Buddha sitting on

our food truck, and it’s awesome.

And there’s our menu.

It’s super simple.

It’s build your own pasta bowls.

You can get zucchini noodles, cut pasta or gnocchi.

You pick a sauce.

I was out tiptoeing through my farm granted

It was 5:30 in the morning.

I was exhausted.

Cutting basil to make pesto to serve the people.

And I had a religious experience with

my land and with the most important

thing we do, which is feed ourselves.

Everything we put in our mouth

is either medicine or poison.

And that is also this food.

So I’m so excited.

We’ve had restaurants.

We want to order cases.

I’m like, Whoa, dude, it’s frozen fresh.

That’s how we make it.

I don’t even know how to ship it there.

We’re not there.

We just start small.

That’s amazing.

What a cool product.


I’m going to ship you some, though.

So when this is over, you better send me your address.

I will.

You’ll be like, oh, Franny, in a month,

you’ll be like, we’re having you back on.

We’re going to talk about it. Yeah.

Franny’s restaurant is the next obvious choice.

So, I mean, there’s got to be

a food market and all that.

Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

It’s always so amazing. What’s that?

I said, we have lemon,

lavender cookies and tahini cookies.

People are freaking out.

We’re really building a foods division.

I’m going to send you sample pack and you’re going to

I can’t wait because when we were in Connecticut,

we tried a little bit of everything, tried the gummies.

It was funny, but it wasn’t funny.

Brooke threw her neck out that morning.

And so we’re going to meet Griff and the team.

And her neck, I felt so badly, like she

could not walk without truly her whole body clenching.

And so we got some of the lotion and it helped.

And we had a nice lunch

right there with the whole team.

We definitely tried the creams and definitely

could provide a great testimonial for that.

She absolutely loved it and felt great.

But it’s just so incredible.

And I love and we’ll definitely have to not wait

2 years before we have you on next time.

But in the meantime, what’s the best way

for everyone to follow you and stay connected?

So if you look at Franny’s Farmacy

F-A-R-M obviously pharmacy anywhere on

social media, our website, frannysfarmacy.com

But in this brand stuff, please

follow our farm, Franny’s Farm.

I used to have 18,000 people.

They cut that off on Instagram.

But that’s a beautiful place where you can

come and actually stay on our farm, enjoy

our hemp garden and Franny Tacy

myself, I also have a whole bunch

of stuff that’s really fun.

Amazing. And of course, we’ll add all of

those links to our show notes.

So if you head over to weedbudzradio.com, you’ll be

able to connect with Franny right from there.

And of course

Thank you so much for joining us.

And we’ll see you on the

next episode of WeedBudz Radio.

100th Episode – Can Legal Weed Win? Joined by Economists Robin Goldstein and Daniel Sumner.

Ry Russell with Economists Daniel Sumner and Robin Goldstein, Authors of Can Legal Weed Win?

Find Can Legal Weed Win?

Welcome to our 100th episode of WeedBudz Radio!  I am your host, Ry Russell and I invite you to join this compelling discussion today of the economics of owning a business in the cannabis industry.  There are many factors that can hinder growth and success in this competitive market so we ask the question – can legal weed win?  

To answer that very question, we have the authors of the book “Can Legal Weed Win?  The Blunt Reality of Cannabis Economics”, Robin Goldstein and Daniel Sumner.  

Robin Goldstein is an economist and author of The Wine Trials, the controversial exposé of wine snobbery that became the world’s best-selling guide to cheap wine. He is Director of the Cannabis Economics Group in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. He has an AB from Harvard University, a JD from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Bordeaux.

Daniel Sumner is Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. He grew up on a California fruit farm, served on the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, and was Assistant Secretary of Economics at the US Department of Agriculture before joining the UC Davis faculty. He has a BS from Cal Poly and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.


Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show

Transcript from this Episode:

Hello, buds.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m your host, Ry, and as most of you

know, I opened a cannabis dispensary in northern Maine.

And as exciting and amazing and fun and

challenging as that is, you really need to

look at the economics of getting into the

cannabis industry and the economies of your business.

And that’s something that we’re going back

and forth with all of the time.

And as most of you have heard throughout my

grumblings that taxes are one of the things that

really hinder us as a business from being able

to scale, being able to employ more people.

And it’s a constant challenge of, is this worth it?

Are we crazy?

Some might say maybe a little bit of both.

But it’s always time to go to the experts.

Why hypothesize and sit here and fester

on things that I know nothing about?

It makes more sense for me to talk to individuals that

wrote the book on whether or not legal weed can win.

And so joining us today, we have

the incredible authors of Can Legal Weed Win? The

Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics.

And so I’m really excited to have

both Robin and Daniel join us.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

Thank you very much.

So you two gentlemen obviously have an extensive

knowledge not just about cannabis economics and cannabis

business, but about economics in general.

I know that’s a topic that you both have

studied and teach upon and share your knowledge upon.

So I guess my very first question

to you gentlemen is, am I crazy?

Am I bonkers for getting into the

cannabis industry the way that I have?

Well, let me say something to begin with, and

that is, you know your local market, you know

your local competition, and Robin and I may give

you some background, but the most important thing is

what’s going on right where you are.

And we could say, boy, it’s really

tough, and here’s some examples where it

seems to be working more than others.

But you’ll know your local situation, if you’ve

got 13 other guys that are undercutting you

on price, we could say, gee, the market’ s

booming, and you could say, I’m getting screwed.

You see what I’m saying?

So we can have some insights about the

bigger picture, but, you know your local stuff.

Speaking of the bigger picture, would you consider

legal weed to be winning right now?

Would you say that it’s failing?

What is your perspective on how weed

is measuring up from an economic standpoint?

Well, we don’t think it’s winning

right now, that’s for sure.

It’s, of course, a different situation in every state, and

some states are doing a lot better than others.

So one of the things we do in the book

is we compare states that have been doing comparatively well

with ones that haven’t and look for some of the

reasons why, and we say, well, we mean the state.

It’s a viable legal market.

Legal weed is able to beat illegal weed.

That’s sort of a success for legal weed.

And it’s been really hard in states

like California, where we come from, for

legal weed to compete with illegal weed.

And the biggest reason is price.

Illegal weed is much cheaper to produce and sell

because they don’t have to pay all the taxes

and go through the regulations and follow all the

rules, including a lot of rules that you have

to follow in any legal business.

Not just weed, but a lot of specialized cannabis rules

that only cannabis companies have to follow has made it

more costly and more difficult for them to compete with

the illegal guys that have been around for a while.

So the states that have done best are the

ones where they’ve been able to bring prices down

and be more competitive, where legal weeds able to

be more competitive with the illegal stuff.

And there are neighborhoods where, for

one reason other, your customers don’t

really care about price that much.

Not very many, but some.

And you’re in some town where everybody really

wants to be legal in every way.

Even though they could have weed, it’s

legal for them to have it.

They want to deal with

local legal businesses, that’s great.

But not everywhere is like that.

So if I was thinking about the distribution,

it goes from really struggling to hanging on.

And the, boy, I’m just printing money here, at least as

far as there are people that have made those claims.

There may be a consultant that’s doing very well and

a lawyer who’s doing very well, but it’s tougher to

find somebody who’s actually in the cultivation business.

And it’s also easy for people in business.

And I do a lot of food economics.

And you talk to a farmer and he says,

oh yeah, that guy who’s just one step up

the chain from me, he’s making all the money.

And then you talk to the guy in the

marketing, the distribution business, the middleman, and he says,

yeah, the retailers make money, the farmers make money.

God, I can’t make a go of it.

And then you get to the retailer and he says, the

prices are so high, those guys are charging me so much.

Plus I have my rent and the labor, and who

knows where you can get a worker these days?

You see what I’m saying?

And I really do think it

goes from struggling to hang on.

But the big thing about weed is

that the illegal market is there everywhere.

The competition from the illegal guy is always there.

And that’s the point Robin was making.

That’s the challenge about price.

We’re talking about legal markets and illegal

markets and legal pricing and illegal pricing.

And I think something that is confusing

and misleading is the term legalization.

And when I think of my operations here in

the beautiful state of Maine, it’s a legal operation.

And I struggle to see where

federal legalization will make things better.

Everybody, I think touts that federal legalization

is going to make everything exponentially better.

But the feds are making a lot of money off of

me right now, and they do control some of the kind

of merchant services, if you will, systems of all of this.

And so it’s hard for me to see,

well, what’s the federal incentive to legalization?

So can you help demystify what legalization is?

But why ultimately, does the term

legalization become so misleading to people?

This is music to our ears, because that’s one

of our themes, and I’ll let Robin elaborate.

One of the first things we do in

the book is say this word legalization.

We’re using it, but it can be really misleading.

Yeah, and it can just mean a lot of different things.

For example, when a state passes a ballot question or

a bill that says weed is legalized, it can take

years between getting from that point to getting to the

point where you actually have stores open, because states take

years sometimes to drop regulations and so forth.

Vermont, 4 and a half years after they

passed a law legalizing recreational weed, they still

don’t have a single recreational store open.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, managed to do that in a day

with what Vermont took 4 and a half years to do.

But that was medical legalization.

So you have medical and then that’s basically a

market that’s limited to state residents with doctors permissions

and that’s sort of a lot more states are

set up that way than the recreational.

But when we talk about recreational legalization, Dan and

I, from an economic point of view, of course

you care whether the stores are open and they’re

doing business and there’s a market.

So we consider full recreational legalization to only start at

the moment when stores are actually open and you can

walk into a store and buy weed legally.

And there’s about 14 states that are

now at that stage with recreational.

I’m curious, in Maine, we’ve been looking at a

lot of data on prices and also on

the number of dispensaries in each or retailers

in each state and the density of retail.

One thing we noticed about Maine is that you guys

have a lot of stores for your population, and you

also have the prices on the lower side of

the spectrum of what we’ve been looking at.

So I’m curious, why do you think that is?

What’s the market like in Maine?

I take responsibility for the lower prices.

No, but our store does take a lot of pride in that.

For example, Budz Emporium, specifically, we have a

guarantee that we are the cheapest recreational store

in the state of Maine, and sometimes that

means selling our vendored wholesale products for less

than that vendor’s own retail establishments.

And we’ve kind of made that guarantee

because we know that price is the

primary driver of consumer behavior right now.

And within that, there’s different parameters around

selection, but it really is price.

We were the first store to offer

a $99 ounce in the rec market.

That was lower than many ounces in the medical market.

And frankly, it can be cheaper than

what you get from Bob next door.

And that really boomed our business.

And that was something that took a lot

of work, a lot of creativity, a lot

of partnerships from many different sides.

But that single handedly took the average cost of an ounce

in our store from about $200 down to about $125.

That’s a significant jump in 30 days.

And you are seeing a jump like that in the

state of Maine where, for example, when we open the

store, I think the average price per gram to the

consumer was right around $15, $14 and some odd cents.

And if I’m not mistaken, the latest reports are showing

about, $10.50, $10.75 I think, per gram right now to the consumer.

And we’re below that here at my store in particular.

But we built our business off value.

I used to operate a drive in movie theater, and

the only way that I saved that was creating the

value of kind of reducing that barrier of the ticket

price and increasing the value on food.

Everybody brought in sandwiches.

Nobody was buying food at the drive in.

And we kind of changed that model around where

you wanted the food at the drive in.

It was good and it was good value.

And so I try to take those principles

and bring them over here to my operation.

But it is in the state of Maine, you

have 3,500 to 4,000 medical shops which are untested,

and then you have about 100 or so retailers

in the adult use market right now.

And that’s definitely going to grow.

But there’s a lot more hurdles

in the adult use recreational market.

The med market is a piece of paper front and back,

and you can open a store within probably 72 hours.

The adult use side is a grind and a grueling

process that I think will get easier over time.

But the barrier to that’s very low

as well at $2,500 per license.

So I think if not the lowest in the country, one

of and so the barriers to entry are very low.

And that’s where I think branding comes into play

and value and all of that here in Maine.

But the economies here are very different.

And when we see tourists from Pennsylvania, New

York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, they cannot even believe

what the price per pre-roll or per 8th

is here in the state of Maine.

And they want it.

The thing that in my opinion, and you two are

economists, but I think even having a market like Maine

is going to drive the prices lower in Massachusetts and

Vermont and kind of trickle down because those tourists are

going to start demanding it from their retailers, which, to

your point, Daniel, that works backwards.

The retailers will then put that pressure on

the middle man, the middle man backwards.

So it is a very unique segment of the industry.

We are in Maine.

Are you allowed to deliver Ry or is

it strictly storefront because that limits your scale.

Of course.

It does very much, though.

And currently the adult use market

is not allowed to offer delivery.

That should be coming online hopefully

August, September, October of 2022.

And when that does, I think

that’ll help retailers out a lot.

However, that doesn’t come without its own challenges

and own infrastructure and all of that.

And I’m lucky.

I’m in the north Maine woods.

I’m the only adult use store really for an hour

south and probably an hour and a half north.

And so I’ve got a nice piece of territory where

you go to Portland, you’ve got 70 stores stacked on

each other, loyalty is zero, and it’s very price conscious.


Connecting back to the point you asked, the question

you asked earlier about federal legalization, I think you’re

really smart to care a lot about price.

And Maine is going to do comparatively well compared to

some other states around Maine when federal legalization comes in,

because you’re going to all of a sudden be competing

with stuff from all over the place.

Now, you’re also going to face competition from Wyoming

or Montana or Oklahoma, places that might be able

to make it even cheaper because they have lower

costs of land and labor and things like that.

But the thing that I think people we say a

lot in the book, the thing that people miss about

legalization, they think it’s just going to help everyone.

And actually competition will help

some people and hurt others.

You’re ahead of the game by caring about price,

by thinking about price, by figuring out how you

can price not just competitively, but at the bottom

of the price spectrum in your area.

And that’s the skill set and the advantages that

will be needed in the future with competition.

As a retailer, what we say about

federal legalization is first, do no harm.

In fact, my motto has been let cannabis be kale.

We don’t need a bunch of regulations from the Feds.

The states have been handling that pretty

well, and local governments and everybody else.

And in fact, this idea of federalism,

this idea that different states do things

differently, okay, that’s the way it goes.

But the last thing we need is to layer on a

set of federal taxes and federal regulations on top of that.

And what Robin is talking about is the

beauty you go back to the U.S. Constitution.

The beauty of the U.S. Constitution is

it made a free trade agreement.

So let’s just accept that.

So imagine the federal government did

one thing and one thing only.

It just took cannabis off this schedule

of prohibited substances or illegal substances.

The list of severe drugs, all you

did was cross that one line out.

Taxes would change, banking rules would change.

All of those things are just tied to

the fact that the raw material that you

buy is on this list of illegal stuff.

Therefore, you don’t get to deduct it

from your taxes as a retailer.

And the federally registered banks don’t want to deal

with you or they find it awkward because you’re

dealing with a substance that’s on that list.

Now, there may be some other places where somebody

has to cross something out, but what we’ve seen

about the federal regulations, no matter who they’re sponsored

by, even the one that was released yesterday or

today, it goes on for pages.

And Robin and I say, how about a postcard?

You don’t really have to do a lot here, and

maybe later you want to say, okay, we’re going to

add cannabis cultivation to some USDA program or something.

But as long as you don’t prohibit

it, it’s there for lots of things.

And so that’s what we’d say for you, and

particularly you, Ry, and I would say your customers

and the customers in Maine that want to take

advantage of access to Washington state or maybe eastern

Massachusetts, where they have some particular cultivars of ours

that are tasty or somebody likes, fine.

But it doesn’t tie you when you go buy a banana, you’re

not stuck to buying a banana that was grown in Maine.

And when you grow an avocado, yeah, same thing.

You buy that avocado, it can be grown in Mexico.

It could be grown down the

street from here in California.

Same with strawberries, et cetera, et cetera.

You go buy strawberries in January, you don’t

say, God, it’s coming from some guy with

a hot house under glass doing all kinds

of electricity to grow a damn strawberry.

Whereas in cannabis, it has to be.

And so this free trade, particularly in the raw material, I

think is a boon for your kind of business, and it

may not be a boon for the cultivators of Maine that

you could see some growers saying, wait a second, I don’t

want to have to compete with Colorado.

That makes a lot of sense.

That sounds so hopeful.

So I want to go back there for a second.

But first you said something about legalization, and then

the feds will put taxes on top of that.

But my argument is, where are they

going to put taxes on top of? What?

What could they possibly put taxes on top of?

Because we’ve got our sales tax, and then we pay our

income tax monthly or quarterly, and they’re getting a nice chunk

of change on that, upwards of past 30% of our revenue,

and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Now, there’s a lot of if you’ve got big money,

you can put a holdings company in between it and

a property management company in between it and stack and

layer and all kinds of other things, but just straight

up, pound for pound, what would it look like if

there was true federal legalization?

Well, here’s the problem.

Over the years, I lived in North Carolina for

a while, and I studied tobacco economics, and I

moved to California and started studying wine economics.

And so I can tell you there’s

a federal excise tax on wine.

So if you go to your local grocery store and buy

a box or buy a bottle, it’s got a bunch of

federal taxes later right into it, right off the bat.

Excise tax.

Same with a pack of cigarettes.

Lots of federal taxes, then state taxes, then if you’re

in a city that puts local taxes on top.

So just because there’s state and local taxes

and regulations doesn’t mean the feds can’t put

some more taxes on the product itself.

We know they tax your business, your income

taxes, and other things on your business.

But this is product taxes.

Our argument is it’s not needed.

We got plenty of taxes already.

And particularly, and this is really crucial

for everybody to understand the health of

the industry because we’ve got this illegal

business that is running parallel now.

Maybe not in Maine, maybe nobody

grows illegal cannabis in Maine, right?

Yeah, I wish.

The feds aren’t going to tax illegal cannabis anymore

than they do now, and they’re not going to

stop it any more than they do now.

And at least in most jurisdictions when you legalize

it, the agency that’s in charge of monitoring legal

cannabis in Colorado, the Colorado agency that does that,

they don’t go after illegal cannabis.

They don’t even know how because they have a long

list of growers and retailers and wholesalers and testing firms,

and they say, here’s a bunch of regulations you have

to follow, and it’s their job to make sure that

the legal industry follows the law, okay?

That’s their job.

There’s this whole illegal industry that’s doing its

thing undercutting your prices and everybody else’s.

And that’s the big challenge

that Robin was emphasizing.

Robin, I just told him that he was giving me a glimpse

of hope and then right there all the way, oh no, you

signed up to be on their radar and on their list.

So I guess I have a question for

both of you gentlemen before we end today.

Where’s the hope?

I think there’s plenty of hope because people over time

see what works and doesn’t and learn from successes and

failures of others. I think we think that the most

hope is when people are willing to look at other

states and see what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Be brutally honest about what’s failed.

One of the mistakes regulators have made, as you see

more and more states opening up, and it’s like the

default is they just go copy the regulations.

They’re writing off the regulations, they just copy the

system from California or from Colorado, and you’re like,

well, why would you copy some regulations?

Why would you copy a system of a state that

where legal weed is not doing comparatively well against illegal?

But if they looked at what’s going on in Oklahoma

with the medical system there, they’re not at recreational yet,

and they see how much that industry is thriving and

they’ll be probably competitive in an interstate market, then you

want to set up more like that.

So we’re hopeful in the sense that over time, maybe

it will take a century or maybe 10 years, but

I think over time, people learn from their mistakes.

He’s the optimist, the real wild card, the real

question mark is what you’ve been getting out, which

is what form federal legalization will take.

Legal weed could, as Dan said, if

it’s just descheduled, that could really help

legally win in a lot of places.

If they add another layer of

taxation, then it’s anyone’s guess.

It could be a step backward

before we’re able to step forward.

Where your case is interesting a lot

of places, California is one of them.

Washington State is another.

There are several where when adult

use was introduced, medical died because

they had essentially the same rules.

Most people in California got both licenses

when they were both available same.

It wasn’t easy.

Neither license was easy.

They got both licenses, and then the customer

said, well, unless they were under the age

of 21 or had some, there was no

particular reason to get a medical card anymore.

Whereas what I found fascinating about what you said

was that if I declare and you always said

medical in quotes, you always said that.

And it’s interesting that I look at you as a retailer

and said, well, why don’t you go to the medical route?

You could access a lot of customers.

You could have stores side by

side, one medical, one adult use.

But in most places, there was just no reason for

medical once you had adult use up and running.

And it’s fascinating.

So there’s a case where Maine did something

quite different than the rest of the country.

We like to strive to say that we’ve seen

the future and we’re trying to reverse engineer it.

And it’s looking at state by state that has

come before us and trying to learn from their

mistakes, trying to innovate on where they left off.

And I think as long as we stay creative

and innovative and ultimately focused on the customer’s value

first, I’ve yet to see a business model truly

fail where the customer was ultimately the happiest.

And that’s something that we just

kind of strive for here.

And I think that’s ultimately how the industry wins.

Being an industry, that’s not just cool, but

it really, truly is part of the community.

And that’s easy for me to say in my tri

town area of 10,000 individuals, but also because of that,

it’s much easier for that community to know how hard

we work to live up to that.

It’s much harder at scale to show

the customer that same level of love.

And that’s really what we’re trying to

dial in before we replicate, is how

do we replicate true community value?

Because that’s what we did at

the drive in, and it succeeded.

And I think that is ultimately not only

the way cannabis will succeed, but in my

mind, that’s the way it should.

I think the people of the cannabis industry, hopefully

most of them, feel the same way that we’re

sharing love with the world when we put this

in a safe, legal fashion and bringing it.

And I think often that’s why the accidental air

quotes come out when I refer to medical.

It’s because they should be the ones

putting in the level of care.

The level of continuing education.

And the level of seriousness that we

emphasize with our teams because they’re medical.

They should hold themselves accountable.

And they should ultimately be testing their own product

if there’s no legal reason to do so.

We very much we were licensed to answer your

question, Daniel, why didn’t we were licensed as medical?

And when I learned that medical was not required

to test, we bowed out and decided that that

was not the values we stood for, ultimately not

where we wanted to be in the marketplace.

We felt that, yes, we’re entrepreneurs and

not necessarily looking for a boss, but

we are looking to be held accountable.

And testing doesn’t just hold us accountable, it

holds the cultivators and the processors accountable.

And ultimately, I think that just

makes a safer product for everybody.

So that’s ultimately why we decided

to do the recreational side.

That’s interesting.

Testing is an important one.

It’s one of the things that differentiates if you

ask what differentiates the legal from the illegal product

and experience, and you talk about both and the

testing is like the main substantive difference.

No one can necessarily from smoking weed, from

smoking in particular, where you can’t necessarily know

whether the person who grew it or packaged

it had a state license or not.

But the certification of testing

means something to some people.

Some people aren’t willing to pay more for it, but

some are, and it matters to a lot of people.

And so that’s one differentiator.

But I think you bring up a really important point

about the customer experience and the service element of it.

Most illegal weed is delivery.

And there’s something special about

this in-person’s storefront experience.

And I think some of the early storefronts that

would open, having to follow so many rules kind

of came off as kind of cold.

It was like an Apple Store pharmacy kind of thing.

And you didn’t really have it wasn’t like

such a nice experience that you’d pay a

little extra to have that experience.

But certainly that’s low hanging fruit for people that’s

a big part of the experience is buying it

and getting guidance on what to choose.

And this is a new industry where a lot of

people, especially people who are just starting to explore it

and haven’t been like long time consumers of weed in

the past, they just don’t know anything about what to

buy or what’s the differences between products.

And I think you’re delivering a

lot of value by doing that.

And I think that’s important for people around the country

to keep in mind as they figure out how to

navigate the legalization and compete successfully with illegal.

Thank you.

I really appreciate that.

We definitely strive to do our best.

It’s a humble family shop up here in the north

Maine woods and we’re loving every minute of it.

And honestly, I just want to thank you both so much for

taking the time to riff with me today on all of this.

It’s just overwhelming sometimes when you’re up here and you’re

in your own head and you’re looking at the future

and you’re looking at the past to predict.

And it’s nice to have minds that do that on

a daily basis, help kind of deweed that for us.

So thank you so much.

And gentlemen, how does our buds

at home find your book?

Amazon. Can Legal Weed Win? The

Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics. Amazing.

Well, thank you both.

Tell your local library too.

Tell your local bookshop, et cetera.

We’re going to have to get a couple of copies

for our library here in Millinocket, so it’ll be fun.

And I think the community is always looking

for more ways to educate themselves on cannabis.

And I think one of the things I love most

about this is the community is part of this rally.

They are a part of the success of

the store and they feel that way.

They’re always looking for products.

So awesome.

And obviously, we are always grateful for all

of you that are tuned in and continue

to tune into WeedBudz year after year.

It has been incredible to

produce these shows for you.

So be sure to head over to

Weedbudzradio.com and check out those show notes.

We’ll have a link for you so

you can go purchase the book directly.

Take you easily right there.

And of course, we’ll see you in the next show.

Ask Us Anything!

From Brews to Budz with Chirag and Kevin of St. Johns Brewers and Cool Out Delta8

Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman partnered to create the brewery, St. Johns Brewers. These beverage industry experts have decided to take their talents into the world of Cannabis. They are introducing a line of Delta 8 or D8 seltzers. D8 is a compound derived from the hemp plant and therefore falls under hemp regulations versus cannabis or marijuana depending on the state that you’re in. The creative minds behind DrinkCoolOut.com join us today to educate us on what exactly Delta 8 is and to share the origin story behind their brand.

Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman

Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show

Transcript from the Episode:

Hey friends.

Welcome back to another episode of Weed Budz Radio and

I’m your host Ry

And today joining me is some

new buds that I’m excited to share with all of

you that are working on some incredible projects and have

already worked on some amazing projects, so you’re going to

love the conversation that we have today.

And today joining us we have Chirag and Kevin from St.

John Brewers and gentlemen, thank

you so much for joining.

Hi, good afternoon. Good to meet you.

Good to be with you.

Yes, thanks for having us. Absolutely.

So first I want to hear where you’re

located and how you two got connected. Chirag

do you want to take this one first this time? Sure.


Jim and I have been friends since college.

We went to school up in the

University of Vermont back in the 90s.

So we were friends from freshman year.

We became roommates with a bunch of other guys in

the dorm and then we just drank good beer from

Vermont at that time and kept in touch after college.

So we both graduated from University of

Vermont and then went out separate ways.

I worked as a scientist for NASA and the space

program out in California for a couple of years and

Kevin was a physical therapist major and he went down

to Boston and worked in the hospital there as well.

So we were both kind of on our career

paths in the early 2000s and kind

of decided that we want to change in life.

Kevin went down to the state to visit a friend

of ours that we knew from college down in the

Virgin Islands and checked it out and he came back

and I said I was interested in moving the Caribbean

and we just thought we’d take a year off and

go down to the Caribbean for a year and then

we’ll get back into career jobs in the future.

We kind of took a leap on life at early

20s and went down to the Caribbean with no

plans, no plan to brew or anything, just to check

it out, bartender, have a good time and then maybe

come back or travel a little more.

So it’s kind of how we got started

and it’s a beautiful place down here.

We fell in love sight on scene and yeah, it was great.

We got some jobs originally just bussing and then

hosting at some restaurants, moved up to bartending.

Everything was great.

But we did realize that we missed beer that we

were drinking up in the States down here it was

just all the light lagers, Caribbean lagers, mainstream domestic beers

that were here and we really wanted some different colored

flavored beers and so just ingenuity kind of struck us

and we bought homebrew kits online and it was a

bit more of a challenge back then.

We’re talking 2001, 2002 so the

internet isn’t what it is right now.

So having to go to the local library with some dial

up for 30 minutes each and do this online research.

But we got them and that was our start and our

lead into craft beer as far as the brewing aspect.

And that was how we got into beverage the very early

stages and really caught the bug as far as brewing.

The first batches I think were pretty typical of

what you experienced, that decent, not teetering on good.

But then we just wanted to really make some good beers

and so we really got into it reading everything that we

could and just really caught that craft beer buzz.

And then finally it kind of got to

the point where we were going to stay

here and start a business within beer.

We had a couple of good recipes that we had

or go back to the States and pursue our careers.

And in particular we were brewing

with mangoes that grew on St.

John and we were talking how people enjoyed

it and we’re like, yeah, let’s give this

a go with this tropical mango beer.

And that was our foray into St. John brewers and

the beer that started us off in this direction.

That sounds delicious because my favorite beers and

my favorite flower and smoke is anything a

little bit citrusy, a little bit tangy.

So that sounds absolutely incredible to me

and I can’t wait to try that.

So I’m curious, two brewmasters, if you

will, where do you go from there?

You establish this great business, what’s next?

What’s on the horizon?

Yeah, so we’ve been brewing beer, like Kevin said, since

the early 2000s, and we started a brewing

company and we brewed different styles of beer.

We also introduced the soda lines, we’ve

done root beers and ginger beer flavors.

This is all packaged products as well as

draft and sold throughout the markets and the

bars and restaurants and throughout the islands.

And so we’ve just expanded our line over the years

and recently got into a hard seltzer that we make

we think better than the ones that are out there.

It’s called Love City.

And it’s available only in the Virgin Islands.

So Celtic was sort of our foray into a

different style of beverage versus the traditional beers like

the IPAs and the brown ales and all the

unique pale ales that we could do.

So we wanted to transition to a little bit

more of the cannabis space where we could bring

cannabis to beverages and the idea of a good

craft beer and a good craft cannabis beverage.

And so the last two years we really been

working on finding great water soluble ingredients to

use in a flavored seltzer that our flavors that

we come up with and put the two together

to make a really quality product that’s entry into

the hemp space and into the cannabis space.

That is so fascinating. Kevin.

Yeah, I was just going to add that it has been great.

All the research that we did

with creating Love City our hard seltzer.

It just really did blend in

well into infusing in Delta-8.

And we have just different flavor profiles that

we have that we’re super excited about.

Our brand’s, Cool Out is our Delta-8 infused seltzer

and we’re leading with a citrus flavor same thing.

I guess we can let you know how we

do our research is that it’s one thing if

we like it, but do other people like it?

So we spend a lot of time bench topping

out our different flavors and then giving it out

to our staff at first and then going more

into our larger audience and customers.

And citrus has got a lot of great reviews and it drinks just like a fresh, clean seltzer.

Our Delta-8 ingredient is wonderful.

We really did a lot of vetting for

suppliers for our Delta-8, and it is

just one of the cleanest ones out there.

Tastes great over ice, straight out of the can.

And we went in a little

bit lighter with the Delta-8.

As far as 10 milligrams, I feel everyone either

has had that experience or knows that someone had

experience of having edibles and having too much because

of that hour wait that takes place and having

it be just too much.

So we went with 10 milligrams.

That still gets you a nice little heavy buzz.

But we also want this to be something

that you can drink more than one of.

We’re beer guys.

We want you to be able to be social with these beverages and

be able to hang out, be in the mix at a party.

Maybe alcohol is not for you and this is just

one of those really good alternatives that can help you

relax and you’re fitting in with the party.

Or if you want to replace out that glass

of wine at the end of a work day

or that beer, this is another great option.

Zero calories.

We’re not sugar guys.

We don’t like sweeteners either.

And so we’ve just developed a flavor profile that is

clean, has a lot of robust flavor to it, but

doesn’t have a lot of added features to it.

So our tagline is Cool out. Feel good.

And there’s just a lot of different aspects about

this beverage that can help you feel good.

And a lot of that is what it doesn’t have

in it, which are the sugar, carbs, all that stuff.

So as an individual, that’s often in those social environments that

you were mentioning, I do not drink alcohol, but I love

beer, and so I’ll have a craft beer maybe three or

four times a year, but really only one, because I don’t

really like the way that I feel.

And so I’ve been waiting for that beautiful

kind of craft beer that has more of

the THC components to it than alcohol.

Obviously, I know that with fermentation

you’re going to get some alcohol.

But is there a way to make a good beer with

THC in it versus what we have right now, which seems

to be a lot of juices and sodas and seltzers?

It can be done.

It’s a little more technical.

You have to de alkalize your product

because you can’t have the two together

and sort of a consumer safety perspective.

But you could brew beer, try to get a

no out or low out down there and then

add in your ingredients and then that’s been done.

Particularly in west, we’ve seen a couple of

brands do that and I think that’s part

of where we’re at with flavor.

And we’ve been at this almost 20 years where

complexity of flavor versus simplicity of flavor and not

everyone is an IPA craft beer drinker, even though

it is the most popular style of craft beer.

We sell a lot of our IPAs but that leaves

out a big part of the segment of the population.

We like seltzers and you can see the craziness out there

just because it appeals to a lot more of an audience

that just does not overwhelmed with flavor and taste.

However, we do encourage that we want

to have taste in our beverages.

So that’s our benefit.

Our positive experience is having good flavoring

and good formulation of your product.

We think seltzer is just a great way, but yeah,

it’s been done for sure the beer side of things

and this is a good intro for us.

We feel the tip of the iceberg sort of

thing with Delta-8 and getting into beverage.

So this is our starting point.

As Chirag mentioned, Delta was just fresh with us

as far as one of the latest projects that

we are working on and so it did just

fit nicely into what we are going to do

next, which was experimenting with cannabis water soluble technology.

That leads me you had mentioned something about Chirag,

the kind of craze around seltzer right now.

And I’m curious is that a fad?

Is that a trend that’s here to stay?

If it is here to stay, what’s after that?

There’s a lot of opinions on that at the moment.

I mean, we’ve seen a pretty big skyrocketing

with the big national brands from a small

brewery perspective on an island in the Caribbean.

We’ve done great with our sales

to date and it’s growing.

So I personally don’t think seltzers

are going away by any stretch.

Craft breweries, particularly breweries in general, got into

the business because it was a way to

make a light kind of alcoholic seltzer beverage

versus the traditional beer under the regulations of

breweries versus liquor distilleries.

So there was a bit of that movement going on.

But in terms of a fad, it’s possible just

because they typically the big macro bands tend to

overdo it and it kind of turns people off.

Seltzers have been around forever I think

it’s been over 100 years of seltzer.

It’s clean, it’s refreshing, it’s not for everyone.

Some people want sweeteners and things like that.

But if you have a good

clean shelter, it’s very drinkable.

So I think you’ll be around for a while.

And I’m curious because I realized that

we haven’t really necessarily explained it to

those that have tuned in.

But if you don’t mind kind of breaking down what

the difference is between Delta-8 and Delta-9.

I think that’s something that we really

haven’t talked about on the show.

So Delta-9 would be the THC drive from marijuana.

And it’s just kind of that technical chemical structure

that is where a carbon is double bonded.

So it’s on the 9th carbon in the

molecule, Delta-8 derived from hemp, which the

federal government deemed legal in 2018 Farm Bill.

And that is, again, just where that double bond is.

So it’s a chemical difference.

And then it’s where they’re derived from within the

cannabis family, one being from marijuana, Delta-9, the

other being from hemp based Delta-8. Interesting.

And so I guess the question that I’ve been

asked a lot, I don’t have an answer to.

Is Delta-8 naturally derived or is

that something that’s synthetically formed. Delta is

present in cannabis and in hemp.

In smaller dose or percentages, it can

be derived from the hemp and then

basically converted up into Delta-9.

It’s not synthesized per se from basic chemistry.

It’s derived from the CBD and the cannabinoids

of the hemp and the hemp extract.

When I kind of think of CBD extraction or

THC extraction, if you’re looking at extracting something like

Delta-8, are you able to get the same

kind of return per plant, per hemp stock that

you would THC from a marijuana stock?

Is it a smaller number?

Do you have to kind of use more quantity to get there?

It’s not something that we’ve ever really explored.

That’s a pretty technical question, I feel.

And I’m sure it’s different based on farms

and strains and the style of what’s grown.

We rely on the expertise of the

companies that we’re getting our product from.

We feel that our expertise comes in the

beverage side, using that water soluble technology and

just getting the best beverage that we can

for the hemp that we’re using.

But I’m not sure about that kind of pound for pound.

What is the yield or how that part actually works out.

Now, if I say for myself, more of an experienced Delta-9

consumer, and let’s say beside me I have an inexperienced

Delta-9 consumer, could you kind of explain to us the

effects of Delta-8 on the mind and body?


As cannabis users, we’ve experienced Delta-8

Delta-9 and other cannabinoid CBD. Of course.

And so Delta-8 is referred to as sort of

a milder buzz that doesn’t say that you don’t feel

anything or it’s light, but it tends to be milder

than a cannabis THC Delta-9 high.

However, it is a cumulative

effect, a compounding effect.

If you have a couple more Delta-8s, you

will start to feel a very strong buzz.

So it’s not as if it stays mellow the whole time.

It’s just sort of the onset

and the feeling isn’t as high.

And also the less, if any, anxiety and some of

that kind of panicky that comes with it increased.

You don’t get some of that, or

at least we haven’t heard of that.

Very calming effects in many ways, but not

overwhelming and stretch and everybody’s a little bit

different too with how they get affected.

So I think that’s just where there is some plates

where you start to know your dose and then get

comfortable with it as well, which is very important.

And that’s why we like the beverage space

compared to edibles and smokeables is that you

can kind of pace yourself as you’re drinking

it, and especially the 12 ounce can versus

a shot, because the shots a bit intimidating.

But with a 12 ounce can, you’re drinking

it like you would drink any other alcoholic

beverage where you’re pacing yourself and if you

want to slow down, you can slow down.

And because the onsets within 15 to 20 minutes

due to ingestion liquid form, you feel it sooner.

So you can kind of really do it yourself out and

not feel like you’re going to have to wait an hour

and all of a sudden you’re glued to the couch.

So you kind of get that baseline much sooner

and then you can effectively make a decision on

how much more you would like to consume or

at what pace you would like to consume. Correct.

I would say that the onset is faster

than edible if we’re comparing the two.

And then also the on ramp.

I feel that sometimes when I’ve had edibles, it

hits you all of a sudden everything at once,

where with this as you’re drinking it over 15, 20

minutes and enjoying the flavor and then getting the

experience, there’s more of a gentle kind of ease

into the high compared to just that thump that

you sometimes get with other deliverables.

So gentlemen, I got to ask, being in this space,

in the beverage space for so long, what are some

similarities that you’re finding between what you’ve been doing with

the brewery versus now introducing Delta-8 from, I guess

kind of a 360 view, right?

Like how are you engaging consumers?

What is regulatory look like?

Just what parts are extremely different, but what

parts are like, yeah, we got this.

This is our prior expertise coming in.

I mean, I would start with our expertise

being in the beer and alcohol business.

And we follow all the federal regulations,

everything from labeling rules and such.

So we understand regulations state

to state sales are limited.

You have to register in all 50 states.

So we’ve always been limited in our state

access that we have sold in multiple states.

And so we’ve learned all the regulations behind that.

And of course, the rules have

been changing with hemp and cannabis.

So knowing that we want to merge those two worlds together,

because in the craft beer business, we do have cannabis users

and THC users that would want to also be having in

the same social dynamic as a craft beer party.

So we wanted to merge those two worlds together.

And I think we’re able to do that a

little bit more now based on the current regulations

of how hemp is currently federally approved.

Yeah, and being cannabis users and wanting to bring cannabis

more into the American beverage culture, this has been a

really cool project for us to be working on and

then also bringing in the quality that is craft beer.

It’s something that we always pride ourselves on and that

we’re going to continue on with this new project and

everything else that we do within the hemp space.

We feel it’s very important.

We’re trying to do things the right way, the

best way that we can, best ingredients, all those

things that make a quality brand and a quality

experience for the customer as well. Amazing.

And gentlemen, before we wrap up today, I’m really

curious, what is the cannabis culture and I guess

regulatory viewpoint right now in the US.

Virgin Islands?

How is that kind of functioning right now?

What’s that ecosystem looks like?

Surprisingly not legal yet for cannabis recreation or medicinal,

but as the Caribbean island, as you know, cannabis

has been present for generations and as part of

the culture, and it is not recently not been

legally loosened on the laws there.

So it’s been okay, but there’s definitely not the

regulations in place to have open dispensary sales yet.

Enforcement is friendlier, but fines

are still in place. Correct. Awesome.

Gentlemen, I’m so grateful that you took

the time to meet with me today.

And I’m curious for all those that are tuned in, what’s

the best way to stay connected and to follow you all?

Best way is through our website or social media.

The website is drinkcoolout.com and then our

handles are DrinkCool out as well.

So those are the best channels to follow up. Amazing.

Well, thank you both so much. Thank you.

Thanks for having us.

And of course, we’re so grateful to all of you

that have tuned in to another episode of Weebudz Radio.

Be sure to head over to our website weebudzradio.com.

We’ll have links to connect with all

these fine gentlemen and their website so

you can check out their beverages.

And can you ship, gentlemen, can you ship

to all 50 states or most states?

Most states, yeah.

We’ve got a website you can go to check

it out at drinkcoolout.com and we can ship to you. Awesome.

Well, definitely go check, drinkcoolout.com.

Those links will be in the show notes

and we’ll see you in the next episode.

Thank you so much.

Ask Us Anything!

“Secrets to Maximizing Success in the Cannabis Industry” with Ryan Douglas 

Welcome to another episode of WeedBudz Radio!  Today we have the pleasure of  speaking to returning guest; Ryan Douglas, Author of “Seed to Success”.  Ryan is here today to introduce his new book “Secrets to Maximizing Success in the Cannabis Industry”.  Join me in learning about propagation and other factors that affect cultivation and production in the cannabis industry.  

Ryan Douglas – Author & Cannabis Cultivation Expert
CLICK HERE and Get Your Copy NOW!

Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show


Transcription from the episode below: This is a new Feature for us, please forgive any mistakes as we dial in our subtitles and transcriptions.

Welcome to another episode of Weed Buzz Radio.

I’m your host, Ry

And today, I’m really

excited because you might see a familiar face,

a guest we’ve had on before.

Ryan Douglas was on to talk

about his book From Seed to success.

And I’m guessing it was a success because we’re

here to talk about his next book, Secrets to

Maximizing Profits in the Cannabis Industry: Contemporary and

Pragmatic Tips for Improving Your Cultivation Business.

And that is something that, as a retailer, I

know I’m very curious about, because if the cultivators

can become m ore efficient and more pragmatic then our

prices go down and if our prices go down,

then you, the consumer, will hopefully be able to

pay a better price at the dispensary.

So we’re going to hit Ryan with some hard questions today,

but before we do that, I want to just ask you,

Ryan, for those that haven’t checked out, From Seed to success yet,

can you hit us with a quick kind of summary, if

you will, of what you got into in that book before

we talk about kind of the next step, if you will?

Yeah, of course.

And thanks for having me on again, Ry.

It’s a pleasure to be here. Awesome.

We appreciate it. Yeah.

So, about a year and a half

ago, I published From Seed to Success.

And essentially it’s a manual

for launching licensed cultivation startups.

And so that’s geared towards anybody from

any industry that’s interested in participating in

the cannabis industry through cultivation.

And so it’s essentially a manual, kind of a

step by step guide on how you go through

the most important parts of launching a cultivation business.

And so, having kind of covered the

basis of startups, what I wanted to

do was publish something on guaranteeing profitability.

How can companies really thrive and survive

now that they’ve launched their business?

And we’re kind of in an industry where there’s

plenty of challenges, you’ve got supply chain challenges, you’ve

got, in some places, increasing competition, increasing supply, and

the future is pretty much unknown.

So the question is, now that I have

a cultivation business, how can I guarantee that

it’s profitable for the near future?

And so what I wanted to do was

kind of create a more direct, more succinct

way of getting some information to readers.

Instead of writing a 285 page book,

this ebook is more like 30 pages.

And so I’ve just chosen a handful of topics that

seem to come up repeatedly when I speak to groups,

when I speak to cultivation business owners about the challenges

and concerns they have on a day to day basis.

So that’s why I chose to publish this new ebook.

I wouldn’t call it Spark Notes because there’s

so much value in there, but the way

that you describe it, it’s very succinct.

And for somebody like me who gets overwhelmed with big words

and lots of pages, it made a lot of sense.

And there was a lot of principles in

there that somebody who is not skilled in

cultivation like myself was able to see.

If there’s enough detail in there, you can

kind of see how one thing impacts another.

So I wanted to mention it is just

a perfect way to kind of get into

the weeds of things without being overwhelmed.

Yeah, and that’s the idea really.

Like I mentioned, there’s three or four points

that I cover in the book and they

come up repeatedly when I speak with clients.

So no point in trying to fluff

up a book to make it bigger.

Let’s just get right to the point.

And that was the goal.

I appreciate that.

And we talked a little bit prior to

the show and earlier that you kind of

helped push me when you launched From Seed to Success.

I was working on a book about my experience with the

Saco Drive in movie theater and it was something that was

kind of, I guess perking in my mind for a while.

But I was like, man, there’s all these amazing

authors in the cannabis space and I’m not going

to be a good cannabis author unless I practice.

And I really don’t have a lot of

expertise other than podcasting and studying the experts.

So I need to practice.

Got to get that muscle going.

And so I wrote a book called Relic

to Icon about saving the drive in.

But I’ll tell you it was a workout as we discussed,

like every 5, 000 words was like okay, well this is it.

And sometimes I felt like I was writing for

the sake of writing and I didn’t like that.

I like business books that are to the point.

And so it was kind of a hard balance between

what I’m being told it should be in length versus

what I think is value to the consumer.

And so this is just a great kind of add

on to From Seed to Success of kind of taking those

fundamentals of great, you’re here or you need to get

here and this is how you do it.

And now that you’re here, let’s talk about

how you dial some of that stuff in.

And that kind of leads me to my next question

because I love innovation and I love innovation specifically in

this space I’ve seen just where soil to, hydroponics to

some of the kind of I don’t know what they’re

called the aeroponics that I’ve seen. Yeah.

So there’s so many different things.

And so I’m curious just in the last year

or two, what some of the technology and innovation

that you’re finding interesting in the cultivation space?

Yeah, so what we want to look at is I

mean, I’m a big proponent for technological innovation and automation,

but when we’re talking about maintaining profitability, we don’t want

to automate just to say that we did.

The reason we do it is

to really increase our bottom line.

So we’re either producing more or we’re

increasing the quality of what we produce,

or we’re producing it for less.

And so when we look at new technology or new

automation, we want to make sure that it hits one

of those three items, because otherwise it might not be

an appropriate expenditure for some of these cultivation businesses.

And so that’s why in my new book, there’s

one chapter that covers new technology, and the goal

is really to present this technology that can help

growers reduce their cost of production.

And so, just briefly, I can mention a couple.

The first, even though it’s not new

technology, it’s becoming more and more popular

with cannabis growers, and for good reason.

And that’s tissue culture propagation.

So I can’t tell you how many times

I’ve walked through a cultivation facility that was

state of the art, but right away, they

had insect or disease problems on their crops.

And if you’re starting fresh, you’re starting new.

Really, in any industry, you shouldn’t

have problems for a while.

But there’s nothing worse than dropping ten or

$12 Million on a cultivation facility, staffing the

thing, and you start running it.

But you acquire essentially dirty genetics.

And even if the person has the best intentions

of providing you with really high quality genetics, unless

these are propagated inside of a lab and the

process of propagation is sterile, they can’t guarantee you

that what you’re receiving are completely clean starter plants.

And so what happens is essentially every

insect and disease infestation any grower has

ever encountered, nine times out of ten

comes from infected cuttings or infected plants.

And so

cannabis growers have always had to deal with insects.

But since more and more states and

countries are legalizing cannabis, you have more

greenhouse production, you have more outdoor production.

Not only do you have the traditional insects

and disease we need to battle with, you

have new diseases and insects that are jumping

from traditional crops to cannabis and hemp.

And so,

especially for greenhouse growers and indoor growers, outdoor growers,

a lot of that is up to mother nature.

We really don’t have much control at

all, but indoors and greenhouse we do.

And so what you have is more and

more growers turning to these tissue culture companies,

and what they’re doing is outsourcing propagation.

So for anyone listening, propagation is

essentially cloning or taking cuttings.

So traditionally, companies keep stock

plants from other plants.

Every so often, they take cuttings, they

root them, and now they have a

genetically identical plant to the mother plant.

So you can imagine if you took 100 cuttings,

now you can fill a grow room with a

hundred similar plants to that mother plant.

And that’s how we that’s how we

establish kind of a constant harvest schedule.

The risk is multiple.

One is that the longer a plant stays in production,

the more likely it is that it gets something.

And if we’re propagating plants that are

infected, inevitably this pathogen will show up

in production in the flowering space.

So you risk contaminating the crop, but

you also risk contaminating the entire facility.

But also, not every grow team

is excellent at rooting cuttings.

So whether you’re taking ten cuttings or

10,000 cuttings, generally we try to shoot

for 80% or more should root right.

So some just won’t root.

Some are going to die off, some will dry out.

So you determine what you need and

you take more cuttings than you need.

So if you have 20% die

back, you still hit your numbers.

But not every grower, not every cultivation

team is good at taking cuttings.

And the problem is in these production facilities

where you have a very tight production schedule,

if you are short, you basically have to

go into production with half empty rooms.

Or if we wait and take more cuttings

and wait until they root, now you’re looking

at production bottlenecks, which is just as bad.

So the reason people are going more and more

towards tissue culture and the reason more tissue culture

companies are starting to cater towards cannabis is one

these growers can outsource propagation entirely.

They don’t need to hold onto stock plants.

They don’t have to worry about propagating and taking

cuttings, and they can dedicate that space to flower

production, which is really where the money is that

when we talk about cannabis growing.

But probably the biggest reason is that these companies

will deliver hundreds or thousands of plantlets guaranteed disease

free to your doorstep on a set schedule.

So it takes some planning at the beginning of

the year, but, you know, every Monday at 10:00

in the morning, you can expect a FedEx delivery

or a truck to pull up to your facility.

And now you have rooted plantlets

that you immediately put into production.

And stuff happens during the course of a crop cycle,

but at least, you know, you’re starting 100% clean.

And that’s going to become more and more critical

as growers face newer diseases and newer insect infestations

that we don’t even have to worry about today.

So tissue culture, I think, is one of

the not necessarily a new advancement, but it’s

new for cannabis growers, at least.

And I’m sure the systems to which you preserve that is

only going to get better and improve over time as well.

You mean how these companies preserve their

genetics, how they hold on to them? Yes.

And in terms of, like you were saying, 80% in

terms of rooting on your own and such like that.

So I’m sure they must have systems in play, right, where you

can kind of get closer to maybe a 90 or 93%.


So even inside of a lab, everything isn’t perfect.

So naturally they’re going to duplicate more plants than

you need, so they can guarantee that they’re going

to deliver the numbers that you need.

But it’s also a long process if there’s one.

Well, it’s not really disadvantaged, but, I mean, taking

a cutting and rooting, it at home would take

about two weeks in a tissue culture lab.

The process can take 90 days, but that’s not a

big deal as long as you’re scheduling production accordingly.

But sorry, you had mentioned something about preservation,

which is what I thought you were getting

at, but I think I was wrong.

But this is really interesting regardless, please,

is that growers typically want to hold

on to a lot of different genetics.

Even if they’re only growing a few and selling

a few, they’ve got stuff that’s special to them,

stuff they want to breed within the future,

stuff that might be special to other people.

And so they end up holding onto

these plants that aren’t in production.

And inevitably what happens is they get

attacked by something, a disease or insect.

And so another benefit of tissue culture companies is they actually

can store genetics for you and they do it in a

form where it takes up hardly any space at all. Right?

They’re essentially freezing needs or getting them

as close to freezing as possible, and

they just halt the life cycle.

And it’s almost like a genetic library.

But in six months, if you decide that in nine

months you want to bring the bubble kush back into

production, you tell this tissue culture company they’ll take it

out of storage, they’ll start producing it and growing it.

And again, it’s guaranteed disease free.

You don’t have the hassle of it and all

you’re doing is giving these folks a date.

I need 1,000 bubble kush cuttings on September 1.

And if you’ve done that far enough

ahead of time and you’re working with

a competent propagator, it’s a done deal.

Can you transport that right now legally?

Is that different than like,

transporting clones across state lines?

So that’s an excellent point.

Some companies will not ship out of state.

So there are some large, very competent propagators that I

would love to refer to clients I work with.

But these folks will not ship outside of state.

Others will.

And they do that under the guise of hemp.

So they have a hemp license.

And if you think about it, it’s completely legal.

When you think about what is the definition of hemp,

it’s that less than 0.3% THC of dried weight.

And so a plantlet, even if this is like a 35%

THC flower, once it’s harvested, a plantlet, once it’s dried is

going to have almost a negligible amount of THC, if any.

So in theory it’s hemp.

If it’s tested in a lab, it’s hemp.

So these companies that do ship out of

state are doing it under a hemp license.

But like everything else

in cannabis, everything fluctuates.

It’s kind of a gray market.

So fortunately in more market yeah, if you

think Michigan, Colorado, California, within those states, there’s

propagators in Maine, they’re slowly coming online.

So we’ve got a few options

in Maine and Massachusetts as well.

And that’s going to happen over the

next few years across the US.

As states more and more states legalize, as those

markets mature, you’re going to see more tissue culture

companies pop up that service cannabis only because these

other companies that have been propagating agricultural crops for

decades, a lot of them won’t touch cannabis.

And you can understand why. Absolutely.

So one question I had was in terms of

the standard cloning process, is there a concern for

dilution of that kind of starter plant or that

mother plant, whatever that is referred to as?

Can that be kind of trimmed off of for eternity?

Is there an expiration to that?

I guess, again, as a retailer, I’m just so kind

of fascinated and ignorant, I suppose, to how that works.

So there’s opinions on both sides of the aisle.

And honestly, I’m not even sure where I

land on that because you have growers that

say you’ve got growers that have held onto

the same genetic material for years, sometimes decades.

And some people will say that there’s

something that’s called genetic drift, that the

more you propagate the plant, the more

drifts away from the original characteristics.

And you’ve got other folks that are taking

cuttings from the same plant for years, and

they say it’s the same, if not better.

So in my experience, I think the biggest risk

is that what you can have occasionally are mutations.

It’s not genetic drift, it’s just a sport

or a mutation, and that could create something

that’s genetically different from the mother plant.

But in my experience, and granted, I haven’t been growing

for 40 years, but I’ve been in cannabis for approaching

ten years, and so I haven’t seen it myself.

But the second I say that, there’ll be

ten other growers that will contest what I

say and say that absolutely, there’s a difference.

So, hot topic, but I can’t give

you a solid answer either way.

And before we wrap up, I probably

have another hot question for you.

But I’m curious because on the retail

side, I know systems like Metric, all

of our sales transactions goes into Metric.

We finalize those transfers from our

vendors, the cultivators, the processors that

comes to us, we receive them.

For us, Metrics a minimal hassle.

So can you help myself and some of

the other retailers maybe have a little empathy

on the cultivation side on what really goes

into the kind of track and trace program?

Because I hear it a lot, but when it’s

four buttons for us, it’s hard to empathize. Yeah.

So it can get tricky because as growers, we

need to track plant material from the get go,

even from the initial cutting of the stock plant.

And if there’s any problems or if any plants,

for whatever reason don’t make it, we need to

be very clear about removing those from inventory and

being specific about why those were removed from inventory.

So on the growing side, the better technology you

have, the easier your life is, which I guess

we could say about a lot of things.

But I’ve worked in facilities where we were using barcodes

and traditional barcode scanners, and those labels would get wet

after a couple of weeks with soil and irrigation, and

then it would be hard to read.

And sometimes standing inside these big

facilities, there’s so much equipment, the

WiFi signal isn’t that great.

So then the scanner isn’t reading, and you’re running

around the grow room trying to get a signal,

trying to read a barcode that isn’t clear in

the first place, and it’s a real headache.

But with RFID tags, life can be a lot easier.

Now, the infrastructure is a little bit more expensive,

but what it allows you to do essentially, is

instead of a barcode, it’s like a mini computer

chip inside of a tag on each plant.

And so you could literally walk into a grow

room with this handheld RFID scanner, do a scan

of the room, and within seconds, you’ve inventored literally

hundreds of plants if you’re within range.

Now, a step up from that

would actually be mounted stationary readers

throughout the greenhouse or production facility.

So you’re no longer scanning.

What happens is automatically, once these

plants move into or out of

a grow room, they’re automatically recorded.

Their movement is recorded.

Some facilities take it a step higher than that

and connect the RFID tag readers to their cameras.

So you could call up a certain idea of

a plant, and you could either visually or on

the computer, literally see it’s moving throughout the production

facility for the entire crop cycle.

And the goal here is one, to minimize labor.

So you’re not running around trying to get signal to

read bar codes, but you’re also complying with the state.

And that you know, where everything is at any moment.

And should you have an unannounced

audit, you can answer these folks’ questions.

You can tell what you have, where it

was, who moved it, all of that.

Do I want to know how much a system like that costs?

I don’t even know how much it cost.

No, I don’t have that number off the top of my head.

But I mean, this is technology in other

industries, so it’s not necessarily prohibitively expensive.

Perhaps given the size of the production

facility, it might be more of an

appropriate recommendation for others than maybe craft

growers that might not be so critical.

That makes sense.

So, Ryan, my last hot button question for

you, and this was a debate all morning,

so there’s a lot riding on this question.

So the question was, in regards to trimming, I

don’t want to work this with any bias.

So I’m trying to think of how the fight went down

and think of the most unbiased way to ask this.

In regards to trimming, is there a preference?

I guess it’s two parts.

Is there a preference to trimming when the

flower is cured or when the flower is fresh?

And if there is a preference, is there a

preference that is cost preferred to the cultivator versus

is there a preference on the consumer side?

So is there one way to do

it where the consumer is happier?

Is one way better because

the cultivator thinks it’s cheaper?

Or is there just a flat?

This is the best way to do it.

All the pressure is on you.

So in terms of quality, I think the best cannabis

flower is produced when you cut the plant and you

hang it dry and then you trim it by hand.

Or you mentioned curing, some people cut the

plant, they dry it, they cure it, and

then they do the final term by hand.

But regardless of which combination, in my experience and in

my opinion, because I’ve done it several ways, we dry

the plant first and then we trim it by hand.

Best quality is that way.

Now, not every cannabis production facility can afford that

because here’s the number we want to work with

one employee trims about a pound of dried cannabis

flower in an eight hour shift.

If you have a small outfit, that means you

and your buddies and maybe your mom for a

couple of days and you take care of it.

If you’re running a big facility, you need to either hire

the entire town or we need to automate the process.

So that doesn’t mean that if we can’t afford to

do it by hand, we’re just going to grow crap.

My recommendation is that we still dry the plant

first, and then we use an automated trim machine

that is built for handling dried cannabis flour.

Is there a difference between dry and cured?

Yeah, of course.

It’s essentially cured is a

more elongated period of drying.

What do we consider dry?

Oftentimes that’s determined by a lab.

It’s determined by the moisture

content inside of a flower.

And so that range is roughly nine to 13% moisture.

And so once your plant dries down to the point where it’s

9% to 13% moisture, you can package it and sell it.

If you smoke the flower, it

will burn easily in that stage.

Now, curing we could do that for a

few more weeks or a few more months.

And so it’s essentially you’re drawing it out a little

bit more, but it has more to do with the

change of the chemistry of the plant that happens.

Are you running for governor?

No, I don’t think I’d want that job.

That seems like a very diplomatic answer.

And if I was set it’s dried, it’s not

necessarily fresh, but it’s not necessarily cured.

Kind of in the middle. Right.

Think about curing almost as degradation,

but in a good way.

The flower degrades into slightly different chemical

structure, but it’s to our benefit.

It improves the flavor, the aroma.

Sometimes the color changes as well.

But you really reach a point where the

process should stop because it’s like anything.

If you hold on to it too long, it’s going to go bad.

So you really wouldn’t want to

cure anything longer than six months.

And as a grower, I don’t know if you had

some amazing flower, how you could just sit there and

look at it for six months without consuming it.

Yeah, that’s very true.

That would be a challenge.

Well, I will see if that answer suffices the debate

here with the team, but I greatly appreciate it, Ryan.

It is an incredible pleasure.

And now that your home base is not too far from

me, we’re going to have to grab lunch soon.

I can’t believe that the last time we talked was,

I think, right when the pandemic was really a thing.

That sounds right. Yeah.

So that’s just amazing to

kind of follow everybody’s journey.

So thank you so much for joining us today.

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Anytime. Awesome.

And thank you all for tuning in

with another episode of Weed Buzz radio.

We’ll catch you in the next show.

Intentional Living with Cannabis Research Scientist, Riley Kirk

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Weed Budz Radio!  I am your host, Ry Russell and today we have a special guest, Riley Kirk, Ph.D. Cannabis Research Scientist and Educator. 

Join our discussion of the importance of using intention to heal, nourish, and make lifestyle changes to promote healthy living.  Learn about Riley’s journey of educating individuals across the country about equipping themselves to make good choices about how and when to use traditional Pharma vs natural remedies such as cannabis and her desire to create supplements that are ethically harvested and safer for consumers.

We have lots to discuss, join us!

Riley Kirk
 personal pages: @cannabichem on tiktok and instagram!
instagram @profoundnaturals & @smokenol
Host: Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show


Hey, budz.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz radio.

And, of course, I’m your host Ry Russell, and I want

to talk to you all today about healthy cannabis living.

We often do not put a lot of intention

necessarily into the things that we consume or how

we consume them, and I know that I definitely

don’t, at least not as much as I should.

And so that’s why I’m really excited to

introduce our next guest to you, Riley Kirk. And Riley,

welcome to Weedbudz Radio.

Hey, thanks. I’m stoked to be here, and both of our

names are kind of Ry, which is fun. Yeah.

But yeah, I’m excited to talk about intention

because I live my whole life around intention. Amazing.

And Riley is joining us from New Hampshire and received

her doctorate from the University of Rhode Island and also

happens to be a Maine native like myself and grew

up not too far away from each other.

And Riley is a cannabis research scientist, and

she educates hundreds of thousands of individuals every

day across all of her platforms.

And so we’ll definitely have links to all

of her channels in our show notes.

So you’ll definitely want to continue to follow Riley.

Well, I want to jump in because we get into

the cannabis side of things in a little bit.

But, Riley, I saw on your Instagram, I saw you

making your own supplements, first of all, and that got

me completely intrigued, and why are you doing this?

And then I got to learn a little bit

more about your lifestyle, so I’d love for you

to kind of share that with everyone.

Yeah, I think it’s really cool that you’re interested

in learning about this, because usually when people are

talking to me, they’re just trying to get me

to feed them cannabis knowledge, and that’s great, but

it’s so much more than that.

It’s not just cannabis is going to

solve all of your problems in life.

It often includes some lifestyle changes and just

being aware of what’s going into your body.

So I kind of take this to an extreme.

I am fortunate that I have enough property that I

can grow most of my medicinal plants and supplements.

My husband and I are super passionate about harvesting

most of our meat through trapping, hunting, fishing.

We grow most of our vegetables,

and we also grow our medicine.

So part of the reason I started making my

own medicine, I’ll get into the other part, too.

But in graduate school, I was working with

the FDA on a project where they were

looking into supplements that have been adulterated, meaning

that there was something else other than what

was supposed to be in that product.

So sometimes this gets intense when there’s a toxic

plant that’s included into a, quote, medicinal plant.

So then they’d have to understand

how that happened, et cetera.

But a lot of these supplement companies, if you

were to just go to Walmart and buy a

ginkgo or ashwaganda supplement, they’re not harvested ethically.

They’re often like very young children harvesting all these

plants, and they’re kind of just shipping them over

for us to mass extract and then throw them

on the shelves in a capsule.

So I think one thing that I’m very passionate about

is knowing exactly what I’m putting into my body.

If I’m growing those supplements, I know what they

look like, I know what active compounds are in

them, and I know how to extract them.

And that is why I choose to do that.

And I think the other problem here is, if you’re

taking supplements that are in capsules or something like that,

that is taking away this component of intention.

Because as Americans, we’re living such busy, busy

lives that we want things to be

as quick and accessible as possible.

So if I read on the Internet that ashwagandha

is going to help me with my stress in

my extremely stressful life, I’m just going to run

downstairs and take a pill every morning that has

ashwagandha in it and then race off to work.

That’s not how traditional medicine works.

Traditional medicine is taking the

time to produce that medicine.

And as you’re making that medicine, whether you’re making

a tea out of leaves or roots or a

tincture, by extracting things in alcohol, you’re intentionally paying

attention to what you’re trying to heal.

And this sounds super, supper hippie, and I am definitely classified

as a hippie, but there has been evidence that this

helps by actually putting your brain towards the actual issue

and saying, I’m trying to be less stressed.

So for this next 20 minutes,

I’m going to prepare a medicine.

And as I’m preparing that medicine, I’m

going to think about why I’m stressed.

I’m going to think about how I can

help with that stress and all of that’s

kind of incorporated into this traditional medicinal approach

at relieving these different issues in their lives.

The same thing can be said for cannabis, too.

Cannabis is absolutely a medicinal plant,

and there are hundreds of different

reasons that people are using cannabis.

And you can use that in multiple ways.

You can just be absolutely stoned for

your entire life and absolutely obliterated.

You’d use tons and tons of THC, and for

some people, that is the medicinal component of it.

If you suffer from chronic pain, you probably do

need a lot of THC to get through your

days, and it’s going to be different for everyone.

But if you’re using it for mental health issues or

some other issues, using it in a lower dose and

really having to pay attention to why you’re using it.

Are there other lifestyle changes that you can

make that can also assist in that medicine?

Maybe cannabis brings your brain to a better spot,

but then when you’re in that better spot mentally,

you need to shift your thoughts and energy into

thinking about how you can improve your life.

Cannabis isn’t just like an instant switch to

change everything in your life to be better.

You still need to put through the effort to get there.

But I think cannabis can help you get there

for sure, but it is a multi step process.

You still do need to pay attention to

what is causing these problems in your life.

Is it just cannabis that you need to

help that are there other natural products?

Are their lifestyle changes?

Are there people in your life you need to get rid of?

I mean.

It’s incredibly complicated and of course it’s

going to be different for absolutely everyone.

But I think the more that we can be

vulnerable and take the time to pay attention to

our medicine and how it’s helping us.

I think the benefits of cannabis and other

natural products can be so, so much greater than

just taking it in a capsule form or

just like medicating without actually thinking about why

you’re medicating and what you’re trying to solve.

And that’s why I thought it was so critical

to talk to you about this because I feel

like a lot of individuals will bring one approach.

This is a medicinal product for this

reason, or someone else say, well, this

is a recreational product for this reason.

And really it’s part of a lifestyle

and it’s part of a regimen.

And I like that you really kind of hit home

that it’s not a cure all for these things.

And your body is this big machine

and it requires work and effort.

And I think when I was watching your video, like, what

hit me the most was like, man, that’s really cool.

I would love to make my own

supplements and probably learn more about the

supplements that I am taking in whole.

But the way that you just described the process being

so much more than just, oh, well, I want to

make my own supplements, there’s the intention and your mind

is processing all sorts of things during that time.

So it really is more than just

getting high or using cannabis for something.

It’s about the lifestyle.

And so I’m really glad, and I’m glad that our

followers are going to be able to follow you because

you have a lot of tips and tricks about that.

Yeah, I am a scientist, but I am also someone who

has used cannabis every day since I’ve been 14 years old.

Cannabis is a part of my life, a

part of the culture of my friends.

It’s part of what just shaped my life.

But a lot of that was using intentionally and if I

ever felt like it wasn’t intentional or if it was causing

any damage, that I would adjust my lifestyle from there.

And I think that’s the hardest part about educating

on cannabis is we’re not all the same.

We’re not all consuming the same way,

we’re not all consuming the same products.

We all have different tolerance, we all

have different past traumas, mental health issues.

I mean, there’s so many factors.

So often I’ll get these comments like, hey Riley,

how many hours before bed should I smoke?

And it’s like, I have no idea.

I have no idea what would be best for you.

You really do have to experiment and this is kind

of where intention comes again, if your intention is to

for writing things down, especially when you’re learning about cannabis

and what products work for you.

Writing things down, saying, okay, I took this dose

on this day, I was suffering from this.

And then kind of going from there and saying, well,

this worked really well, this didn’t work at all because

I cannot tell you what’s going to work with your

body and I don’t think anybody can.

We can help guide you to maybe

here’s the best extraction method for this.

That’s a way I can tell you what to do.

But telling you a dose and the time of day, etc.

It’s not really going to help everyone in the same way.

And that leads me to ask you, you have

this, I don’t want to say traditional academic background,

but there is a traditional aspect to your studies,

but there’s also the untraditional aspect of clearly you

do a lot of research that’s outside of what

you studied at university.

And I’m interested, how does modern medicine

and plant medicine and just kind of

that whole living, how do they coexist?

Yeah. And I will start by saying yes, I

absolutely have a traditional academic route for education,

but I don’t believe that that’s the way

that all of us need to be educated.

I think there’s many other routes just

from life experiences that we can learn

just as much valuable information.

But I think I kind of speak anti-pharma

often and I know for a lot of people

that might make them feel bad because they’re on

pharmaceutical medications, but I do think there is a

time and a place for pharmaceutical medications and I

think they have brought people a lot of benefits.

But that being said, if you want to take your medicine into

your own hands, it is going to be a lot of work.

It’s not going to be as simple as a

pharmaceutical medication where you just take a pill every

day and it will change essentially your brain chemistry.

I have a lot of friends now

that are trying different things, whether it’s

cannabis, whether it’s psilocybin containing mushrooms, whether

it’s other psychedelic compounds to help essentially

reset their brain architecture.

And this is really hard because not everybody in

your audience, not everybody in the world, really understands

the way that our neural networks work.

I mean, I don’t understand how they work because

they are so complex and they’re overlapping and we

don’t really understand why certain conditions happen.

So I think it is very safe if you’re

in a really bad spot to get on pharmaceutical

medications, to get yourself into a better spot.

And then when you’re in that better spot, really

think about what you’re putting into your body. Study.

I mean, if you just Google Lexapro and molecular

mechanism, it sounds really fancy, but there are articles

out there that are meant for patients, that are

meant for people who don’t know anything about drugs

or pharmacology to learn more.

And I know it’s going to be hard and

you’re going to have to look up some definitions

of certain things, but this is your brain.

It’s really, really important.

Like you are altering the chemistry of your

brain every time you take these pharmaceutical medications

and every time you take cannabis.

So, although it is a little bit more work,

I think that’s the best thing you can do

to become more aware of whether it’s pharmaceuticals or

cannabis, what it’s doing to your brain.

And then you can kind of learn over time,

even like a good cannabis strain to use.

If you say cannabis strains and ADHD, you

can find these different forums online that say,

hey, this strain worked for me for this.

And then this is where it

gets a little more complicated.

We know that different cannabis strains

are producing different active compounds.

So if you see that 40 people say that this

strain worked for ADHD, go look at that strain up

on Leafly and look at what’s in that strain.

Is it low THC?

Is it high THC?

Does it have CBD?

Does it not have CBD?

What’s the dominant terpene in that strain?

You can start to learn these different things.

So even if that product is not available to you,

try a similar product, see if it works for you.

Try it in a low dose first.

If that doesn’t work, try in a medium dose.

Try it in a high dose.

It’s such a game of just trial and error.

But if you find your perfect

product, it will change your life.

And then hopefully, you can slowly wane off

of the pharmaceuticals and you can be in

charge of your medicine, your brain.

But that’s not for everyone.

I mean, if you have really severe paranoid

schizophrenia, I would not be trying cannabis strains

just willy nilly and these different doses.

I would stay on my medication because that is the

safest way to live your life at that point.

Obviously talk to your doctor, get these opinions.

If your doctor wants to put you on a

bunch of different pharmaceuticals, maybe let them know that

you’re not really comfortable with that and can you

try some other stuff and then report back to

them with what works, depending on your doctor,

Sometimes they’re going to be really cool

with that, sometimes they’ll be uncomfortable with

that, but it’s definitely worth the conversation,

at least in my opinion.

It absolutely is.

I know it’s something that I’m

very engaged with my doctors on.

I have a book here from one of the doctors of

a clinic that I went to to kind of study my

brain because I was fascinated about it and I really do.

It’s so intimidating trying to kind of

figure out where to get information.

And it’s one of the questions our audience had

for you is what are some resources that people

can go to to kind of learn for themselves?

Because I’m always telling people to

document their journeys, document everything.

Obviously we also work in a dispensary and so we’re

always encouraging our guests to write down what time you

started your session and how much you had and we’ll

dial it in with you over time, but I can’t

make any promises on any of it today and so

it’s really going to have to be tailored to you.

And so I love the way that you speak on

that and obviously the way that we got connected was

a board member sent me one of your videos on

the Emerald Cup classification and dominant terpenes, and that has

at least so far, made the largest impact in my

cannabis selections and in kind of how I’ve dialed in

what’s best for this body, anyway.

Did you find that one of those

categories that you’ve previously kind of been drawn

towards in the past, like your favorite strains

all fit in one of those categories?

Yeah. So I’m a Sativa individual.

Yeah. Me too.

So anything with those citrus based terpenes is going

to just absolutely be the best thing for me.

And then after dinner, I can have a very

low dose of an Indica and that’s it.

I don’t need a 27, 28, 30% Indica to go to sleep.

That’s just my body.

However, maybe 4 years ago, it would have taken a

quarter at 30% THC because I lacked intention and I

lacked responsibility of how I was treating my body.

And so just really monitoring that kind of dialed

things back and dialed things in for what I

think is now a much healthier lifestyle.

Well, right. There’s always this debate about

is cannabis healthy to consume?

People ask me that all the time

and I’m like, what do you mean?

Is it healthy?

It helps a ton of people.

It helps millions of people live

their day to day lives.

So in that sense, yes, it is healthy, but there

are many people who use it to escape reality, too.

They can’t do anything unless

they’re feeling extremely high.

And I think that’s where you need to look back on your

intentions and say, is this really helping me, or is this kind

of a cloak to be able to interact with society?

And as you said, for a period of

time, you can use that much cannabis.

If it can get you through a bad

time, that is totally fine, I think.

But over time, you do need to revisit that and

say, okay, is there a more sustainable way that I

can use cannabis that benefits my life in more ways?

And I’m still very functional during the day.

I can still wake up on time, I can still

go to my job, I can still interact with society.

Those are the times you kind of have to revisit it.

But it’s super situational, and if you’re going

through a bad time, then embrace it and

it can help you through that bad time.

Absolutely. I know we’re running out of time for today, so I

want to get to some of the questions that some of

our team and some of our listeners had burning.

We’ll probably have to do a part

2 someday because there’s so many.

But first and foremost, one of the ones that

was asked that I thought really made a lot

of sense was, is it possible to create concentrates

that could be utilized at a lower temperature?

And what does high temperature concentrates

actually do to the body?

So thank you, Julia, for that question.

Yeah, so this is kind of what our team studies.

Not specifically concentrates, but we study how heat

affects the cannabinoid profile of your product.

So our whole thing is harvesting cannabinoids from

smoke and making that into a product.

So what we do know, at really high temperatures, some

of the active compounds in cannabis can kind of break

apart and they can form some harmful compounds.

I think probably the best known one

is Benzene, which is a carcinogen.

It can be bad for you for sure,

but at low temperature, low temperature dabbing is

absolutely possible, especially with the modern ways that

people are consuming, even something like the Puffco

Peak Pro, I think it’s called.

That I think is a great, great rig because you

can control the temperature so easily that you can

prevent some of those harmful compounds from being produced.

It will require slightly different production ways

of producing those compounds just to make

sure your products are going to essentially

vaporize at that temperature.

But that is possible, I always say.

Well, with dabbing, I like to prevent really

high temperatures because it is a concentrate.

So if there are harmful things being produced, it’s

going to be produced in a higher concentration.

We all know that when you take a

joint, you’re lighting that on fire too, right?

And that’s a really high temperature as well.

But the average concentration of these cannabinoids and flower

is a lot less than it is with concentrates

because the name suggests it’s a concentrate.

So I think a lot of people

again will ask, well, is smoking bad for you?

Is smoking good for you?

People have been smoking for thousands of

years, and we don’t have any rigorous

adverse effects from smoking either.

So again, if you like the effects of low or

high dabs of smoking or not smoking using in moderation,

I think is the best thing you can possibly do.

Smoking anything is going to cause

some harmful compounds being produced.

Dabbing anything is going to produce some compounds that

we probably don’t want to be inhaling either.

But I get so many questions like, smoking really hurts

my throat, but I want to keep doing it.

And I’m like, dude, if smoking really hurts

your throat, you need to stop doing it.

That’s your body telling you to stop doing that.

So with anything cannabis related, if

it hurts, don’t do it.

If you’re feeling like you’re coughing a lot or you’re

coughing up phlegm all the time or something like that,

that’s your body trying to get rid of things.

So listen to your body.

If your body is telling you not to do

something in one way or another, you should listen

to it and try to consume a different way

that’s more compatible with your body.

Because our bodies are sensitive, and if we’re going

to do the same thing every single day for

multiple times a day, we need to make sure

we’re not causing more damage than we are good.

And Riley, I don’t want you to

just do the soft plug there.

I know you’re studying a lot of this, and so

do you mind, can you kind of sneak us behind

the curtain, if you will, about kind of what your

work and what your companies are working on?

Yeah, so we have a patent pending

technology that we invented to capture the

active compounds from cannabis from the smoke.

So normally it’s extracted from the actual bud,

the flower, but we realized that people prefer

smoking, and there’s a reason people prefer smoking.

And we’ve been studying it and we

realized that the chemistry is different in

smoked cannabis versus not smoked cannabis.

So I think the best example of

this, just to help conceptualize it, is

THC, when exposed to high temperatures, partially

turns into CBN cannabinol, a different cannabinoid.

So this isn’t just happening with THC, though.

This is happening with pretty

much every compound in cannabis.

When it’s lit on fire or when it’s exposed

to high heat, it’s producing other, like we call

them, daughter compounds of the parent compounds

THC, it’s producing daughter compounds from

that compound because the high heat

has transformed it into different compounds.

And they’re not harmful for you, they’re

still cannabinoids, but they’re interacting with your

body in a slightly different way.

So that’s what we’re studying.

But we also now make products using this process.

So the process is the smoke and all process.

And we make hemp based products that we literally

take cannabis flower, put it in an oven, burn

it, collect those cannabinoids from our patent pending filter,

which makes an extract, and then we incorporate that

extract into topicals and tinctures right now.

So our tagline is we smoked it for you.

And it’s really cool though.

So it is like a CBD based product, but it

contains other minor and rare cannabinoids that are produced from

the smoking process that no other products contain.

So one of the most abundant ones is

CBT, but we have CBC, CBG, CBL.

There’s so many of these different compounds that no

other products have, and that’s why we think that

they’re working better for people compared to just CBD

isolate thrown in a cream and mixed together because

there’s only so much that one compound can do.

You kind of need that molecular diversity

because chronic conditions are really complex.

You need complex products to combat complex conditions.

That’s amazing.

And how can we find these products?

Are these products ready?

Can any of us go online and buy some?

Oh, they’re ready and they’ve been selling great.

You can find them at profoundnaturals.com.

And we also have an Instagram,

but also we do wholesale.

If any dispensaries, CBD shops, whoever is looking

to sell our products in your stores, we

would love to work with you.

I am the person who answers the wholesale

email, so if you want to talk to

me, then just email me through our wholesale.


Amazing. Well, you’ll probably have an email there soon.

If you want some of these products at Budz Emporium,

just let us know.

Well, Riley, we will be sure to add all of the

links in our show notes so everyone can connect with you.

What is the best channel for people to follow you on?

Yeah, definitely.

I post more on TikTok than any other channel and that’s

just because one, it’s really easy to make videos, which is

why I do it, because I’m kind of lazy, and then

it has the most viewership, you can reach, the most people.

And I kind of target people who are newer

to cannabis and natural products as my audience, but

I get deleted off of platforms all the time.

So my Instagram is also @cannabichem, that’s

the same name on my TikTok.

And then our company pages are Smoking all

and Profound Naturals and we’re on Instagram there.

Perfect. Well, we will have those.

Thank you so much for joining us and I

really do look forward to having you again.

Yeah, I’d love to be on again.

We can talk more about

the endocannabinoid system and everything

science and cannabis.

I love it.

And of course, we are so grateful to all of you

for tuning in to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

We look forward to seeing you in the next episode.