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
Host: Ry Russell
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a cool product.
I’m going to ship you some, though.
So when this is over, you better send me your address.
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.