“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
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Host: Ry Russell
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Transcription

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%.

Exactly.

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.

Budz Emporium Establishes Maine’s First Recreational Best Price Guarantee.

Featured

Yesterday, Ry Russell, Owner / Operator of Budz Emporium took to social media to share the following:

“We made a commitment to our community to provide the very best Budz for the very best value and we continue to honor that! We are now introducing our Best Budz/Best Value plan. Effective Immediately; should you find the EXACT same product carried at Budz Emporium Recreational Dispensary Medway, Maine at another Maine Adult-Use / Recreational retailer we will match it, period.

Our menu has been completely updated and much research was conducted to ensure that we offer the absolute best value there is.

We love serving this incredible community and we are all growing together!

Have an incredible 4th of July and we will see you soon! We are open our normal hours, everyday 10-7.

Sincerely, Ry”

Budz Emporium was the first Adult-Use store North of Bangor, Maine. A small family operated business in the Katahdin region. Now, they look to set the tone again. Ry stated that he felt this move although a bit bold also added a layer of accountability for the industry, in whole.

Ultimately this move could be seen as slightly risky with already razor thin margins and taxes that can exceed almost 40%, especially considering there are no deductions or protections for cannabis businesses. However, I see it as an important step for ensuring the best value for the community. Not just here in Katahdin, but across the State. If someone can afford to offer a product we carry for less than myself, then I best honor it. It is not the customers fault that I am not big enough to order large quantities or maybe there was something I missed when I was selecting product. Either way, I feel like it is important to guarantee to my customers that they will always receive the best value. For those that have followed me since my days at the Saco Drive-in I think its pretty clear that value and community are two of my most fundamental values.

Ry Russell

We asked Ry, if there was any fine print on the offer and he said, “No”, and recognizes it could be abused. He says that if he operates with integrity then he believes most of the public will as well. It is pretty easy to verify things like competing offers with todays technology. As long as it is a publicly offered price, Ry is committed to being that one stop shop for complete cannabis value.

Budz Emporium is now open 7 days a week from 10a-7pm. Offering 40+ strains and a great collection of vape products, concentrates, beverages, edibles and more! Budz Emporium was also the first store to offer the $99 ounce in partnership with Nova Farms, limited quantities available so visit soon or put yours on reserve by the calling 2077231634.

Contact us today!

Beware of Tourists with CJ Britton

Welcome to this episode of Weed Budz Radio!  I am Ry Russell and joining me today is Founder of  Juicebox Collective and my friend, CJ Britton. 

CJ recently wrote a compelling article, “Beware of Tourists” that inspired my thoughts about who they are and where they show up in everyone’s lives. Join us as we discuss how tourists are not just the ones we interact with in the traditional sense, but those that are part of our professional and personal lives.

Beware of Tourists Article by CJ: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beware-tourists-christopher-cj-britton

Guest: CJ Britton
https://www.juiceboxcollective.com/


Host: Ry Russell
BUDZ EMPORIUM
WeedBudz Radio

Support the show

Hey budz, welcome back to another

episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m your host Ry, and I’m here in

the studio in the North Maine woods.

And for those of you watching, you can

see the beautiful northern lights behind me and

here at the studio of Budz Emporium.

As you learned the last time we talked, we opened

an adult use store here in the North Maine woods

and we’re just having an incredible time here.

And I feel very blessed to be a part of this community.

And one of the things that makes

not just Budz Emporium special, but the

whole region special, really is the community.

The North Maine woods, Baxter State Park,

Katahdin woods and water.

There’s so much beauty up here.

And rafting, skydiving camping, hiking, mountain climbing,

you can do all of that here.

So I definitely encourage all of you, if you have

not taken a trip to Maine, specifically here in the

Katahdin region, I definitely encourage you to do so.

And of course, come see us at Budz Emporium.

But one of the things that I noticed in the last

couple of weeks, especially as we gear up to having more

tourists enter the business and enter the region, I’m looking for

ways to increase tourism to really share what we have here

in the Katahdin region with the world.

There’s just so much beauty up here and

so much that you can escape from. It really is.

There’s very little cell service in many of the areas

here, which just makes it amazing. When I think of

how do we increase tourism, and then I hear things

like Baxter State Park, having a cap on the number

of visitors that can go to the park every year,

I’m conflicted because I absolutely want to preserve the beauty.

I also want to see a region that

has been hit with extreme economic hardships to

build back and to build forward.

And we have to do that with a balance

of embracing tourism and welcoming tourism and educating.

We have to educate these campers and hikers as they come

into the state about how to treat this space right.

We need to be educated when we go to

other cultures and other community spaces as well.

So this all got me thinking, and I was on

LinkedIn, and I’m very rarely on social media these days.

And while I’m having this debate in my mind

about tourism and locals and what does this all

mean and how do we increase one?

Do we need both?

I came across this article and

it was titled “Beware of Tourists”.

And it hit me because as a lot of you know,

I made my start in my career with a drive

in movie theater built on tourism, so “Beware of Tourists”.

And I started reading it, and then I realized

the article I’m reading is a good friend of

mine and a friend that you all might remember

that we went to Alabama to visit, and we

ended up working on a Delta-8 project together.

And some of you might remember the Rise and

Grind, which was my favorite product that we created.

A lot of that was in collaboration with my friend CJ,

who is joining us today, who I want to really share

this article with all of you and help, maybe you think

about what is a tourist in your life.

So, CJ, thank you so much for

joining me on WeedBudz Radio. Man, thanks for having me.

It’s good to be here.

I can’t believe that this is your first

appearance on WeedBudz Radio because we met so

many years ago through your brother.

That’s another podcast.

That’s another podcast.

And then just everything kind of continued to grow

between us and working on different projects and brainstorming,

number of different things late at night.

So it’s just been a pleasure to, one, get to

know you and an honor to be your friend.

And I’m really proud of you because

this piece in particular, it’s inspired and

it’s inspired conversations outside of this dynamic.

I’ve shared this article with other people, and then they’ll

tell me that they shared it with someone else.

So, I mean, this article is definitely kind

of grown into something, and it’s been relevant

for a lot of people’s lives.

So would you kind of tell us, what should

we be aware of and what is a tourist?

Yeah, absolutely, man.

So I’m pumped to be here.

We’ve known each other for I just did

the math in my head almost 3 years.

It was a pre-COVID friendship, which means

it’s a real friendship, my friend.

We need to get that as a tag

on LinkedIn, pre-COVID LinkedIn connection or something.

This article is inspiring because, similar to

you, I live in a destination.

So I live in the panhandle of Florida between

Panama City and Destin, which immediately most people think

of spring break on MTV and things like that.

The region I live in is called 30A.

And if you’re from the south, you know where it is.

It’s this little strip of 17-mile beach that’s curated.

It’s all been heavily designed in a certain way.

If you’ve seen The Truman Show, for all of you, that

was filmed in my area, and so it’s kind of like

a little Maybury on the beach, which is awesome.

But one of the interesting things about where

I live is two and a half million

people come down here every year.

14,000 people live here full time.

So similar to you.

It’s a huge amount of people coming

in to visit, and it’s wonderful. Right?

The entire area really revolves around

the tourist industry that comes from

Dallas, Nashville, and Atlanta primarily.

And what’s great about it is the energy is amazing.

I can go out tonight and it feels

like somebody’s birthday every time you go out.

Everywhere is packed.

People are happy.

They’ve been saving up all year to come here.

It’s not cheap.

And they’re spending a couple of

$100 on a meal and wine.

And so it’s just easy to get caught up in the energy.

But afterwards, all the excitement kind of fades away

and you wake up the next day and there’s

plastic everywhere and there’s a car in a ditch

and a golf cart crashed into another golf cart

because some dad couldn’t handle his alcohol.

And so it got me thinking a lot about

people who come here and enjoy the beauty, right?

We have to have tourists. We just do.

It’s part of who we are. And it’s awesome, right?

We all live in America.

We have beautiful landscape.

But there’s another thing to be said about locals,

and it got me thinking a lot about the

people that live here and really make it remarkable.

I’ve made this mistake in my businesses multiple times.

It’s a lesson I’m still learning.

You get caught up in the excitement of

people who see you for a very small

sliver of who you really are, right?

Coming to see the beach, go into a restaurant to

eat or drink, seeing you for who you are as

a hustler or a marketer or maybe one thing you

did, but they don’t really know you.

They don’t take the time.

They also don’t really respect kind of what it is

to be here locally and take consideration into that.

And I’ve made a lot of partnerships with

people that I would say are more tourists.

And as I was thinking through this article,

which has been really funny, to watch it

take its life on its own and how

much it’s resonated with people has been incredible.

But it’s a good practice to evaluate

the people you’re doing business with on.

Is this person just seeing me for

maybe one, two aspects of my life?

Are they just tourists kind of coming

through my life, enjoying this really specific

moment and then moving out?

Or is this someone who’s going to stay

and dig in with me and Ry?

First of all, you, my friend,

are local status in my life.

So glad to have you on board for that.

And it’s hard, right?

Like you live in Maine.

You have down months and it’s

quiet and places are closed. I live at the beach.

Do you know what happens here in February? Nothing.

It’s cold. We’re in the northern panhandle, so we do get

cold weather and you have to kind of hunker

down and weather the good and the bad.

It’s the same in business.

Like who are the people that are going to be

with you, that are going to weather the ups and

downs, not just peaks, not just the tourist season,

not just the time when it’s fun to go out.

There’s always something going on.

Who are the people that are going to sit here

in February when it’s 50 degrees and the wind is blowing

25 miles an hour off the beach and you can’t

do anything but sit inside and dig in with you?

And so the article really was inspired by

that and it’s been fun to share.

I don’t think it’s that original of a thought.

It’s been kind of encapsulated in different ways, but

I’m glad to hear it resonated with you and

hopefully it does with other people as well.

And I think it resonates in a lot of different facets.

It resonates in kind of that literal facet,

that which you and I came from, of

the natural beauty that surrounds us.

And I think we both quickly equated it to some

of the business dealings that we both have been a

part of and both have seen and witnessed and sometimes

I was giving the example a lot of times like

there’s shooting stars and there’s superstars.

And superstars are often the more kind of longevity in the

industry and they’re a little quieter where the shooting stars come

in very loud, maybe raise a fair amount of money and

then they’re gone in a year or two.

And there’s examples of that in personal lives where maybe

things are going really well in your life and you

have everything that you could ever imagine around you, friends

and relationships, and then maybe things are not so great

and that pool is much smaller.

Well, you learn really quickly like

who that inner circle is.

And I think that’s the most

important thing of all of it.

And so it really does relate whether it’s

business or friendships or just saving the beaches,

it’s something that we can all think about.

And so, CJ, I know with your business specifically, you

help companies in a number of different facets and so

define a little bit like what a tourist is, what

is an ideal customer look like for you and for

your team to work with, along with the types of

projects that you have been kind of crushing that.

Absolutely. And it’s great that you’re in the

cannabis space because you get this more

than anyone else, especially emerging industries, right?

A tourist very similar to a shooting star is

someone just trying to find a quick buck, right?

I saw it when I did some consulting in COVID.

I saw it when I’ve

worked with different cannabis businesses.

You can tell who’s really passionate about the

actual business and industry and who’s just there

to make a quick buck. And so, with me, with Juicebox,

I do consulting for a host of different businesses.

We really are a marketing agency.

We do a bunch of different things to help

small but growing businesses really become their best.

And you find out really quickly on a

first call if someone’s passionate, like a founder

is really passionate about something, right?

Because the startup space is full of people who

have a little extra cash and are like, I

found this niche thing, I’m going to do it.

And then you have people who

are almost borderline psychotic about it.

And I love those people because they

know it and they breathe it.

I think you and I have

had this exact conversation before.

I don’t work with a founder who doesn’t

try, believe or use their own product.

From if you’re developing a construction hardware and you’ve

never picked up a hammer in your life to

running a cannabis brand and you don’t enjoy cannabis,

it’s just, authenticity is so few and far between

nowadays and startups don’t understand that is the one

advantage they have over big businesses.

Big businesses are not authentic. They never will be.

And it’s okay, right?

Like, it’s like the tourists and the locals.

There’s a place for everyone.

Big businesses are going to do stuff and write

checks and we love our people, but at the

end of the day, they’re here to make money.

Small businesses are here to make a difference

because it’s you and me and maybe two

or three other people at most.

And so the idea is if you’re really in this

to make a difference, that’s beautiful and I hope you

achieve all your dreams if that’s one of those that

you want to grow into a big business and you

just get way larger than you can handle. Awesome.

We need both.

But I think the problem is there’s a lot of people

who lie to themselves and when you engage with them, you’re

the one that’s going to get burnt in it.

I want to be a small business.

I want to make a difference.

When really it’s just dollars in the back of your mind.

And what happens is in startup

world, you get beaten down.

You have to do things that

may not be in your wheelhouse.

You have to be a Swiss Army knife when really you

just want to be the knife or the fork or something.

You have to do all the things and you

get burned out and it just doesn’t last.

And so the only thing that keeps you going is

that ultimate belief and purpose and your ability to go,

I know what I’m doing, I know my why.

I’m going to make a difference

and I’m sticking with it.

And you should really ask yourself, would you do

it if you were doing it for free?

I think at this stage and you and

I both do work in other industries as

well, outside of our primary things, especially on

the media production side, is the money worth

the dynamic? Is always the question and something

that we’re always trying to figure out.

And luckily we now are in a position where

kind of what you’re saying, like, if I wouldn’t

necessarily be buds with you, it doesn’t mean that

you’re the wrong fit for maybe your own show

or your own site or what have you.

I will fail you because it’s not the right fit

and I won’t be able to see the whole vision.

And I think you and I kind of

got into that phase, right, where a lot

of people will just say, yes, there’s $1,000. Yes.

And then it comes with a laundry list of

things that comes with that at this point. Like, yes.

Obviously everybody should earn a keep

in whatever their keep is.

But it is fun to just watch some of

those dynamics over the last couple of years begin

to shift in that mindset, begin to shift because

if you wouldn’t do it for free,

the money is not necessarily going to make it fun.

It might make it easier to do, to accomplish, but

I think it’s a lot better, especially being up here

in the cultivation centers, I see people trimming that enjoy

trimming and enjoy being around the plant, right?

Like, I don’t I personally do not like trimming

and it wouldn’t be a fun activity for me.

You have to pay me to do it.

But there’s people where, like, it’s a

hobby, it’s very artistic, it’s very therapeutic.

So it’s awesome to be a part

and to continue to witness this develop.

So CJ, what’s next for you, man? What do you have

shakin’ and bakin’?

What are you looking for, man?

So I’ve been consulting with a couple of businesses.

I’m from Birmingham, Alabama originally, now living in

Florida, so thankfully I have some connections there.

And then obviously the world is small because of the

internet, so I have a few different clients I’m working

for in healthcare, cannabis actually as well, and CPG.

So beverages, snacks, things like that.

I really enjoy that space a lot.

And so doing some different consulting.

I have a couple of companies who are looking

to me to be like a fractional marketing director.

My big pitch is I’m always looking

for the why, not the how.

So spoiler alert to everybody listening if you need

a how, I just need social media management.

I just need design Fiverr.

Is your best friend. Never going to beat that rate.

But if you need someone to take your hows and really

build it into a why that’s going to make someone pause,

which is the hardest thing to do in the world nowadays,

is to make a potential customer go, hmm.. they might be onto

something, that might be something I want to try, then I’m

your guy and that’s what I really enjoy doing.

And so you have to kind of think exceptionally.

You can’t just think nuts and bolts, but that’s really

what I enjoy doing and there’s nothing that gets me

more amped and talking to a founder who gets high

on their own supply, to use a cannabis analogy.

I love working with people like that.

I love the energy of startup founders who are

just believing what they do are small business owners.

And I think that’s where I really can help people grow.

So that’s what I’ve been focusing on, enjoying

it and obviously getting out in the sun

with my family because it’s hot.

So if I’m one of those small business owners, and

I know that I madly need some proper assistance in

these categories, what’s the best way to contact you?

My LinkedIn. You can find me on there or juiceboxcollective.com.

There’s an easy contact form, it will come straight

to my phone and I’ll respond very quickly.

Perfect. And of course we will have all of those

links in the show notes over at weedbudzradio.com and we’ll

be sure to add a direct link to CJ’s article

so you can check that out over again

at weedbudzradio.com, we’re so excited and so grateful to

have you tuning in with us today.

We’ll see you in the next episode.