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.

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.

“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.

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

Host: Ry Russell
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.

Keeping up with Compliance w/ Dede Perkins

Hello All!

We would like to welcome you to another informative episode of WeedBudz Radio, with your host Ry Russell. As many of us know, this is still a new industry. Sure cannabis has been around for a long time but just recently we have had to keep up with more laws, regulations, etc. With this positive change in the industry, compliance is more important than ever. Who better to discuss this ever changing industry than Dede Perkins, CEO & Co-Founder of ProCannaProCanna is a software that breaks down the rules and regulations of each state when it comes to opening a dispensary, grow operation, and really any other business in the world of cannabis. Join us and learn how ProCanna is helping entrepreneurs nationwide and find out how you can stay up to date on the ever changing world of compliance. Tune in!

Dede Perkins

Ry Russell
WeedBudz Radio
Manufactured Excellence
Knot Plastic

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/ryzabove)

Contact the host or our team using the form below.


Hey, everyone.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

Of course. I’m your host. Ry Russell.

I’m always so excited to learn about

compliance because whether you are farming, you’re

in cultivation, retail, manufacturing factoring, you have

got to be compliant in this industry.

Can be so hard to digest the laws and regulations.

And so sometimes we need to ask

the professionals to come in and help.

And that’s what we did today.

Dede Perkins, thank you so much for joining me.

Thank you, Ry .

I’m happy to be here.

Before we jump in talking about compliance in the

crazy world thereof, I am always fascinated about the

careers that the entrepreneurs and the professionals had before

getting into the cannabis space, because there really is

no normal journey into cannabis.

Can you tell me a little bit about yours? Certainly.

I was a freelance writer working for myself, and one of

my clients gave me a referral to a gentleman, and all

she knew was he needed help with an application.

And so I went in and met him.

We talked on the phone quickly.

And I walk in, there’s this nice guy

sitting at this conference table, and he puts

his hands up and he says, after we said hello.

I don’t know if you

know anything about medical marijuana.

I’m not a stoner, but I

really need help on this application.

And I knew nothing about medical

marijuana at the time, absolutely nothing.

And I liked, the guy and just kept listening.

And before I knew it, we were working on

one of the first competitive applications in Mass.

We won that license.

I met a lot of people at the

national level and just started getting other work.

And literally within like 18 months, I

was totally, my practice had flipped and

I was basically working exclusively in the

cannabis industry, which I found incredibly compelling.

And it was like 2013, so it was pretty early on.

It was just really great to

be in the industry that early.

I love that.

It’s funny because I’ve been working on adult use

retail application and I know other individuals, and it

does seem like you almost need a writer on

staff to fill out one of these applications.

So could you have ever imagined

that you’d go from freelance writing?

What type of writing?

Was it creative writing?

No, I did business stuff, so I

mean, some technical, a lot of marketing

copy and sort of a serial entrepreneur.

So before that, I had had a kid’s clothing

company for 8 years, so I knew about retail.

But yeah, I ended up sort

of becoming a regulatory specialist site.

For whatever reason.

I like the regs, and that was one of my

jobs on many of the applications, was to make sure

everything was covered and we hadn’t missed anything.

And just to be the organized, also to write

it, but to make sure that everything was covered.

You do that over and over

again in lots of different states. It’s basically a book.

Now, how many states have you written applications in?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know.

10, 11, 12 maybe. Wow.

Is there a lot of variance from state

to state, or are they pretty similar?

The applications themselves, in the

beginning especially, were vastly different.

Maryland had this really small character count.

Actually, Massachusetts did in the first one too.

Others were open ended.

One of our applications that we submitted for a

client was 900 pages because they wanted everything.

And so you want to win, right?

So you put it all in there.

But the regulations, we saw a lot of consistency.

In fact, sometimes you’d think, okay, and I

can’t remember which state it was, but X state, okay,

they took this from literally, the language would

be the exact same from another state application.

So you know that they were all talking

and grabbing pieces of each other’s applications.

What worked.

I would think that as we continue to grow as

an industry, I would like to think anyway that there

will be a little bit more uniformness to the applications.

Because I’ve heard the same thing that in Nevada and

California it could be up to 900 pages, where in

Maine it might only be 100 or 200.

So I’m thinking that as regulators get

together, we might see a little bit

more uniformity amongst the applications.

But I’m curious, what are some ways

that you recommend people in terms of

tackling an application, be it retail, farming,

agriculture, just any of these applications?

Because there’s so many licenses.

It’s not like there’s just one license.

You get a handful.

How do you recommend people tackle it?

Well, I mean, the first thing you have to do

is you have to read the regulation of the statute

that explains what the application looks like long before the

application is actually released, and just prepare.

Honestly, you have to put a team together.

I’ve never seen one person write an application, at

least in the bigger states by themselves, there’s so

many different requirements, from safety and security to extraction

and depending on what kind of license.

So I think just sort of realizing the application itself

is a big project and manage that project and get

the resources you need and plan ahead, because if you

wait until the state releases the application, you probably don’t

have enough time to complete it.

Now, let’s say somebody is interested because compliance

does not stop at the application process.

Compliance is ongoing for as long

as you are in the business.

So what tools do you have or that

you have found make it easier for people

to remain compliant after the application process?

Well, it’s tricky.

And I think everybody well, from my experience,

each company does it a little differently.

What we did at Procanna is I kept seeing, when

you get a license, you think, okay, I’ve won. Right?

That’s the big part.

But then you got to build your facilities.

You have to train your staff,

hire your staff, train your staff.

And you have to comply within

many states, everything that you promised in

the application plus the state regulations.

In some cases in California especially, there’s local

regulations that you have to comply with.

And it’s just like this suit of regulations.

And then if you have a vertical operation,

you’ve got a cultivation team that has one

group of regulations processing a retail, totally separate.

The teams are totally separate.

The leadership is totally separate.

And if you’re in multiple states, it just

gets to be a very complex formula.

And on top of that, they change them and they enact

legislation that fine tunes the regs on a regular basis.

So staying on top of that is tricky.

And I just kept thinking I saw a

lot of stress in the cannabis industry.

Small companies, big companies around us, everybody

was sort of they get the license,

they jump in, everything’s great.

And then the systems just weren’t

set up properly, I think, honestly.

Or there weren’t systems to be set up.

And now that the industry is getting

a little bit more mature, I think

compliance will become much more important.

They’ve learned how to operate.

They’ve got their policies and procedures in place.

Even if you’re a new applicant, the industry is ensuring

that you realize compliance is part of the answer.

So ProCanna basically is a hub.

We take the state regulations, we

slice them and dice them.

They’re all searchable.

We build policies and procedures and

audit off of the regulations.

So you sort of think of it as table stakes.

Like, these are the foundation, like the bumper.

You stay within these guides, these bumpers, you can

do anything you want in the middle, right?

And that’s where the internal policies come in.

And procedures, our tools start with policies

and procedures, right, through training and quizzing

and audit, collecting business intelligence and then

reporting it out to stakeholders.

So it’s just a tool set, but it keeps everybody

in there and it’s sort of a likable interface that

makes compliance just a little less stressful, I think.

I think anything to reduce stress is great.

I’m curious in terms of compliance, what’s at stake?

For somebody that’s gone through and invested the amount

of money that it takes to start any business,

but especially in this space, what’s at stake if

you’re not operationally excellent, ongoing?

Well, there’s a lot at stake.

There’s compliance with the external regulations, the state

and the local municipalities, and then there’s compliance

with your internal policies and procedures.

And they both, in not being

in compliance has effects for both.

But let’s just deal with the regulatory.

I mean, the most obvious is

fines. Fines and license suspension.

In Massachusetts, a medium sized company got a

$350,000 fine for using the wrong pesticide.

And sometimes that’s a lot for a company. For any company,

but especially a small to midsized company.

So there’s that.

There’s fines, deficiencies and license

suspensions and all that.

But I think there’s also a company culture.

If the people in the company don’t know

exactly what the rules are, if they don’t

know what’s expected of them, it’s just stress

goes up or sometimes it’s just ignorance.

They don’t even know that they’re not in compliance.

And so from the owner operator

point of view, that’s very stressful.

There’s a lot of implications

of not being in compliance. Absolutely.

I’m also curious, so you have your service of

helping guide individuals, but you also have a platform.

And I would love for you to try to break down the

software as well because I know that you mentioned training

and all of that, but how easy is it?

Because for somebody like me, I’m

not tech savvy at all.

So how would I fully utilize your platform?

Yes, so having a sort of a friendly and

intuitive user experience was right at the top of

our list as we were developing it.

So it is literally one of

our first clients who signed on.

I signed him on a Friday, I called him on Monday

and he’s like, oh my God, I did a 30 step

audit over the weekend and I’m in the facility.

We’ll definitely provide training, but it’s

a pretty easy intuitive process.

You start with the policies and the procedures.

You can drag and drop your own in.

Again, the tools are pretty easy.

It’s all searchable.

You can assign a regulation block

a policy or procedure for training.

You can add videos if you have a trimmer who

does this is the best trimmer in our staff.

You can take a little short, 2 or 3

minute video, connect it to a standard operating procedure,

assign them both for training, create audits.

So it’s just an intuitive platform that it starts

with the regulations, policy, training, audit, right to reporting,

and each of the sections is pretty manageable.

And all the tools that we use to build

out the content is available to the user.

So you use the same tools we

do to build out the content.

That’s amazing.

What advice do you have?

And I know being compliant, being operationally excellent is something

that I saw going through your website as very important

things, but what advice do you have for those of

us that are like right on the cusp of getting

into the industry, but we’re so overwhelmed?

What do you have for those individuals?

Well, cannabis industry can be overwhelming, but I think if

you’re writing your application, one thing that we have is

all the regulations in your state for your facility type

are all searchable and sliced and dice.

We’ve got sort of those foundational

policies and procedures that you can

literally they’re right there for you.

You can build on top of them,

you can bring in your own.

But ultimately, at the most basic level, we’ve

done that first layer of work for you.

So I think a number of people in our

platform have consultants working in ProCanna with them.

So an attorney or an app

writer or a cultivation consultant.

So they’re working in the system together to either write

the application or to set up the systems that will

allow them to be profitable and have a great company.

Now, did you ever think that you would be in

software when you first got into the cannabis space?

Number 1, I didn’t think I’d ever be in cannabis.

Number 2, I never thought I’d be

in software, and here I am. It’s very cool.

I’m quite happy.

Tell me about some of the challenges

because I know nothing about software.

So tell me about some of the challenges

you had to overcome building your platform.

The first one was actually just finding the right team.

I mean, we had vetted and talked to

a number of people, number of companies that came

highly recommended, and it was 2019

I think we were about ready to sign a contract

with a really well regarded company based in Portland, Maine.

We’re a Maine based company, and it

just didn’t feel right in the process.

I felt like something’s not right here.

And at the last, we didn’t sign the

contract, and there’s just something not right.

And lo and behold, literally like 3 weeks

later, there was an announcement in the paper

that they were moving their US.

Operations to Warsaw.

And I think that was

coming through in their communications.

They wanted the work, but they didn’t really want

to tell us they were leaving the state.

And we ended up starting over.

So it actually put us back a couple

of months because it’s a big investment.

Choosing. It’s got to be the right fit.

And we started from scratch, and we found

a team that now feels like family.

They’re out of New Hampshire, but they have a big

team, and they are just so smart and so responsive.

And I have a vision, and they created,

and it’s just a really great collaboration, and

I can’t say nothing but great about them.

Everything comes down to having a good

team at the end of the day.

Certainly does. And systems.

You need systems, but you need a good team. Yes.

So speaking of team and systems, I’m

really curious because employee training is something

that we’re talking a lot about.

How do we create the right system for onboarding?

How do we create the

right system for continuing education?

So is this platform something that could be utilized to

effectively keep our teams up to date and train?

Most definitely.

And I feel like the training

is the heart of the system. Right?

It’s all about the employees. Right?

So the regulations, none of that matters unless the people

understand it and understand how to do their job.


I love it because it is. I know.

Like I mentioned, we’re working on an adult

use application here in the state of Maine,

and I’m so overwhelmed reading through I think

I’ve read through the regulations 10, 15 times already.

And what I loved about your website is it looks like

I’m able to break it down into bite size and manageable

pieces and action items and then divide that out over the team.

Exactly. Definitely.

And to get back to your training, I

just wanted to add one more comment.

A lot of the states sort of require responsible

vendor training, like a licensed third party training company.

So obviously we are not that.

I just want to be clear that we are not that.

So we sort of work and we complement

the responsible vendor trainers or whatever they’re called

in the different states because Procanna allows you

to train your team on your individual, your

internal policies and procedures.

So it’s not so much the big picture, but it’s literally

you can get drilled down into, like I said before, how

to trim the flower or how are you going to package.

And that’s sort of in that

continuing training education bucket, too.

So if you have to have another 12 hours, every

employee has to have 12 hours of continuing education.

It doesn’t all have to be external to your company.

So internally you could be assigning, reassigning the way to

do their work and it changes in the regulations.

So that can all be built into ProCanna.

Amazing, because I know for us, for example, and

for so many tuning in, they might have one

of these kind of third party trainers that will

come in and train their bud tenders.

But I also have some things that I think

are important, maybe in the sales training side.

Now, can I make a video of myself and

another employee and then upload that as a training?

Most certainly.

In fact, yeah, we didn’t even talk about

like the forward facing piece, but absolutely.

And that’s all brand right?

The way people interact with your company,

the way your people interact with customers.

Yes, you can definitely do that.

Well, let’s talk about that forward facing piece because

I know I saw strong, culture, empowered employees.

I know that this is something

that you care about a lot. I do.

I feel like if people understand

what’s expected of them, they relax.

And when people relax, they’re more productive, they

feel good, they know how to evaluate success. Right?

When people are well trained and everybody is on

it’s like they’re all pulling in the same direction. Right?

You get better results.

And teams that get good results tend to be

more resilient and more psyched about being at work. Right?

So I think that all directly affects process.

Brand loyalty.

How does your team interact with your customers?

It affects everything, I think.

Tell me a little bit.

Even future stakeholders or partners potentially.

Like if you’re a wholesaler and you’ve got this

great team and they’re consistent, your product is consistent,

that’s going to affect your supply chain.

People that want to buy from you people

that are going to work with you.

So it’s not just with customers, but it’s

also with other partners in the industry and

potential investors, all that kind of stuff.

I’m sure investors look at that very strongly.

I’m curious about the power of strong branding and brand

development because I’ve heard a few times now and it’s

not something I believe in, but I’ve heard a few

people while we’re in marijuana, we open the doors, people

are going to come and buy and I just feel

like that’s not necessarily the case.

Branding is important in just about any business and I

would think it is in this business as well.

I totally agree with you and I think in

the early days when it was new, probably anybody

who opened the store like said, people would come.

But as the industry and the consumers

become more sophisticated, as the competition increases

right, you’re talking about Maine.

There’s potentially a lot of licenses in Maine, a

lot of retail stores, and people are going to

support the brands that they trust and they like,

I mean, like comes into it.

Like they want to like the people

that they’re going in and talk to.

So I think that that bar is

quickly being raised honestly. I love that.

Well, Dede, I’m so grateful that you were joining

me today to talk about these things because we

don’t get to talk about compliance a lot.

We deal with it an awful lot.

We don’t get to talk about it an awful lot.

And so for those out there that know

they need some assistance either breaking things down

in terms of the compliance, the regulatory getting

started, or ongoing training and brand development, what

is the best way for them to check

out the platform or connect with you further?

Yes, I think our website does a good

job of explaining what we do that’s procanna-usa.com.

I’m on LinkedIn.

I’m happy to connect with people, answer

questions, have conversations with basically anybody.

It’s a cool industry and happy to connect. Amazing.

Well, thank you so much Dede.

I really appreciate the time. Thank you.

It’s been a great conversation. And I’m so grateful to all

of you for tuning into this episode of WeedBudz Radio.

Be sure to check out our show notes.

We will include links so you

can connect with Dede on LinkedIn.

Also check out the website and

of course you can find that at weedbudzradio.com.

Thank you so much.

We’ll see you in the next episode.

Starting to Break the Stigma w/ The Noobie & The Doobie

Hello Friends!

Welcome to another very interesting episode of WeedBudz Radio, with your host Ry Russell. This episode is a pretty cool one and it is a little different from what we do, not only are we interviewing two guests at once but we also have a non-cannabis user who is pro-cannabis! Let me introduce  Timmy Boyle & Marijane Baker, otherwise known as The Noobie and The DoobieMarijane is a cannabis model who is all an avid cannabis user, and Timmy was a youth pastor, he is a clean comedian and has had one or two puffs max. The best part? They are dating each other! Join us and find out how this dynamic works, what they have learned on their journey through cannabis, and listen to them advise others on each side of the debate.
Tune in!

Marijane Baker & Timmy Boyle
The Noobie & The Doobie

Ry Russell
WeedBudz Radio
Manufactured Excellence
Knot Plastic

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/ryzabove)

Contact the host or our team using the form below.


Hey, friends.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m really excited for this episode because it’s

not every day that we get to have

other podcast hosts on the show.

And I’m really excited to have Mary Jane

Baker and Timmy Boyle join us today.

Both of you, thank you so much for coming.

Oh Ry, no problem.

We had nothing planned for the next 3

weeks, so this builds up our schedule nicely. Amazing.

Well, I have to say, Timmy, I’m really interested in

your background, because I grew up with two Episcopal ministers

for grandparents, and when I had to come out of

the cannabis closet, it was a big kind of production.

I took all of my grandparents out to breakfast, and

I had a conversation of, I started this little show.

It’s starting to get some attention, and before it

gets any more, I need to come clean.

And it was hilarious because they

both had embraced it so much.

My grandmother was using the products.

My grandfather was using products for

his cancer treatments, and it turned

into quite a beautiful conversation.

I’m curious, would you mind sharing a little bit of

your origin story of where you came from and what

brought you into this journey into podcasting about cannabis?

Sure. Yeah.

Can I just throw back one initial question to you?

So you didn’t know they were

using secretly, is that right?

So I had known that my grandmother was using

CBD, but I had no idea that either one

of them were using any sort of THC products. Right.

Well, I can tell you it’s something that

I’ve realized over the last few years.

I grew up in, I would say a fairly

conservative Baptist church, like, literally born in a pew.

My mom denies that, but I think it’s just

because it’s an awkward way to give birth.

But I was there in the same church for 30 years.

I was the golden child.

No smoking, no drinking, no sex before marriage.

I did a little dancing, a little roller skating,

but I did that on the down low.

And certainly weed was or the devil’s lettuce

is the way that it was referred to.

Not only was it linked in with every other drug, like,

you just don’t go there, but it wasn’t even brought up.

It’s not like we even talked about, hey, here’s why

you shouldn’t use it, or here’s what it’s about.

So it was as far away from my mind.

I didn’t know anybody who used it.

We didn’t talk about it.

It wasn’t anywhere there.

But as I’ve gotten older and as I

look back, I think, what your experience

I’m finding there are so many users, especially older

generation, where it was even more, especially in the

church where it was back in those days, it

was show up in a suit and tie.

You had your church reality in your

home reality, just out of cultural necessity.

And I’m finding there’s way more people that were

probably using it secretly while I was growing up,

thinking that it was a no, no, no, but because no

one talked about it, everybody just kept it hidden.

And I think that’s an incredible shame.

So I’m coming into this world completely and

utterly blind, and I wouldn’t be here right

now, I don’t think, without meeting Mary Jane.

Mary Jane opened up that

door, but very conservative routes.

Ideas were breaking down before I met Mary Jane,

and Mary Jane just kind of put another big

kick in there and opened my eyes through some

misinformation and non information that I had had. Sure.

Now, Mary Jane, same question.

What was your first experience?

What was your origin story with cannabis?

Okay, so that goes back many years.

I don’t want to say how many

because I don’t want to age myself.

However, I was a teenager and somebody had said,

do you want to come smoke a joint?

And I was like, that’s bad.

That’s weed. That’s marijuana.

I’m not going to do that.

And I actually went home and I had a

discussion with my dad because we were very open,

very honest, and I knew he consumed from when

I was younger because in school they teach you,

like, Timmy’s saying cannabis is lumped in with cocaine

and heroin and all the other nasty drugs.

So when I found out that my dad was using

at a young age, I was very angry with him.

How could he do something that was so

bad that could get him thrown in jail?

And when he explained it to me that it was

like alcohol, I kind of had a different perception.

I was like, okay, if people can drink

and still function, then it would be okay.

So he lived by the it’s not what you do, it’s

what you do when you do what you do method.

So when I went to him as a teenager

and we had the discussion about cannabis, he said,

I’ll tell you what, you want to try it?

We’ll try it together in a safe

environment so you know what you’re getting.

You don’t have to get it from

who knows where or god knows what.

And that was my door into cannabis.

Which is funny because when my mum found out

that I had smoked with my dad, she got

mad, told me, Get in the car.

I was like, oh, my God, what’s going on?

Where are we going?

She drives down a dirt road, pulls over, says, pass

me the pack of smokes from under the seat.

And I’m like, shaking. I have no idea.

I’m like, 16 years old, no idea what’s going on.

Reach under the seat, pass her the pack of cigarettes.

She says the bag too.

So I reached under the seat and

I pulled out a bag of weed.

And the look on my face as I looked

at my mum, who had flipped over the pack

of smokes to reveal it was a pipe.

She made a pipe out of a pack of smokes.

She was like, well, give it to me.

And I was like, so it was the realization

that everybody that I know might just actually be

consuming cannabis, and I might not know it, and

my dad was like, doctors, lawyers, teachers, they do

it, but they can’t say that they do it.

So I was always confused as to how something that made

me feel so good could be illegal and be wrong. Sure.

So that was my entrance.

We’ll say into cannabis was. Amazing.

It was guided. Well, that’s, I think, a

really powerful way to be introduced to cannabis.

I was sharing a little while back, my first experience.

I was lucky to have such good friends

around me because I was listening to my

heartbeat, and it was just surreal.

It was not something that I grew up with either,

and being surrounded by the right people, and I think

making you feel safe makes all of the difference.

I’m curious, Timmy, growing up in the background that you

did with the church, do you consume cannabis today?

No, I don’t, actually, which surprises a lot of people.

Not only are we doing the podcast the Newbie

and the Doobie together, because me still remaining the

newbie, which actually, strictly from business standpoint, if I

ever started to consume, there goes our name.

What’s the point of the Newbie and the Doobie?

I have to try something new. Even if I wanted to try.

Now we’re locked into this long term,

so I can’t lose the designation.

We got to change and hold our name and

branding, and that’s just too much money and effort.

He did try it, though. I did try it.

So I got into this phase of life where

I was like, I want to try new things.

I had broken free from a lot of the stigmas that

have been set up through a deeply religious growing up.

And like I said, a lot of

those stigmas and misinformation and non information.

I don’t even think most of it was

this intentional thing of, like, don’t.

It was so not in the thing.

It was just non existence.

And so I don’t blame anybody necessarily for that.

But I realized that there were these thought processes

in my head, some of it pop culture driven.

There’s a very, very clear perception of what a

stoner is and what we would do to somebody.

Pop culture has probably done a disservice

to the cannabis consuming world based on

how those who don’t smoke perceive it.

But I was willing to try new things.

I’d come into a new stage of life, and it

was right beforeI kind of met Mary Jane.

When she heard that I had never, ever consumed

cannabis, I believe her words were, enter Mary Jane.

She couldn’t believe it.

She jumped right in.

So she set me up with my very first smoking joint

experience, which I was severely disappointed at because I had seen

all the movies and stuff, and I felt nothing.

And I was like, well, why am

I trying something that gives me nothing?

So it was a downer for me.

And so she said, well, that’s okay.

I gave you a really low dose.

So she gave me a second one.

We went on a bowling date, and she upped my THC.

This is stuff I’m learning in hindsight.

This is what she did.

She upped my THC.

And I’m a good bowler, like 300

bowler a few times and 5 pins.

I take my bowling game serious,

and my bowling game dramatically fell.

And I realized right then and there it’s

like, look, some things aren’t worth risking.

So I was already on my way out

of the cannabis smoking world at that point.

I’m like, I can’t have my bowling game drop.

And so I always try things in 3’s.

3 is an important number to me.

I always feel that you need to watch a TV

show 3 episodes in, listen to a podcast 3 episodes

in, trying to get a feel for what’s going on.

So I tried it a third time.

We were sitting down at her house,

and whatever she gave me made me

blank out multiple times through our conversation.

It was about 25, 26% THC, which apparently now

I found out is incredibly high for especially a

newbie and being a cerebral person and somebody who

grew up not just religiously, but just in my

own life, always wanting to be a sound mind.

I was very intellectually cerebral based, and the

fact that I couldn’t keep track of this

conversation freaked me out, and I didn’t like

the feeling of being disconnected like that.

And so that was my last time.

So it was 3 times over a span of, I

don’t know, a couple of weeks or whatever, and then

I handed it all over and said, I’ve been there,

done that, but I’d still like to talk about it.

So I just want to add the time that we went

bowling, he said it was the second time that he consumed,

which is true, but because he felt nothing the first time,

he smoked two joints in a row before going bowling, which

is probably why he felt the way he did.

And when you smoked the 25, 26% THC, I put on

a movie, which is the appropriate thing to do when you

smoke that high THC and just chill and watch the movie.

But of course, me being me, I started doing this.

And you can’t talk to somebody who’s

that high when all they want.

They need to just chill and relax.

So I kind of set him up

for a poor experience on that one.

Well, Mary Jane, I know that you have

much more experience with cannabis than Timmy does.

How does cannabis play a role in your life today.


I would say cannabis is what gets me through every day.

I’ve learned to use it instead of letting it use

me, because there are times when I just want to

smoke a joint for the sake of smoking a joint,

but then there are other times that I need to

smoke a joint because of my anxiety levels or whatnot.

So, yeah, cannabis is pretty much in anything and

everything that I do, whether I’m eating it or,

you know, I like to make bath salts and

infuse my bath salts, and I’ve even painted with

it and like cannabis oil. Painted with cannabis? Yes.

So I do a type of painting that’s called paint pouring.

It’s where you take the paint and put it in

a cup and basically just, like, dump it all over

a canvas and it does this amazing stuff.

But you can add a little bit of cannabis oil, the

MCT oil, into the actual paint and mix it up, and

it’ll give you these nice cells, nice big globs.

It’s beautiful.

That’s really cool.

I can’t wait to see an image of that. That’s good.

I should probably have one around here somewhere.

Well, I’m curious.

What is it like for both of you?

I feel like talking to different

couples all of the time.

Either neither one smokes or consumes in

any way or both of them consume.

What is it like being a newbie and a doobie?

How does that work?

So I foolishly thought that when we met, I

was like, oh, this is going to be fun.

I’m going to introduce him to

cannabis, and Bob’s your uncle.

I’m going to have a cannabis consuming partner.

I don’t even know of Bob.

He’s your uncle. Lo and behold,

I mean, he doesn’t consume, which I’m not really

complaining about because it just means there’s more for

me and I don’t have to share.

I’m like a cannabis smokers dream, right?

It’s like, wait, I don’t have

to share anything with you.

I’ve always got a driver. Right.

Take me anywhere I want to go.

Pizza, 1 in the morning? No.

Well, is it hard at all?

Are there any challenges?

Because I know, like, some couples, they

hate the smell of it or whatnot.

Timmy, you seem like it doesn’t really faze you

and you host a podcast show about it.

Yeah, I think what I’ve discovered is how incredibly rare

and like I say, discovering is kind of a journey

thing as opposed to a light went on thing.

But I’m discovering that our relationship is

incredibly rare, and through conversations with Mary

Jane, I think it’s because of that.

It’s like, you want to

have that common shared experience.

If we’re at a party and MJ goes for a

smoke, most couples being, let’s go take our smoke break,

and it has that kind of common kind of thing.

Or MJ was talking earlier to

me about golfing or weight weightlifting.

If your spouse is sharing that love, which for MJ

cannabis is such a strong part of her life, you

would assume that that other person should share in that

or else it’s going to cause a friction.

But what we’ve talked about is that

anything can cause that friction, right?

Like if you’re not in constant communication, if

somebody loves baseball and the other person doesn’t,

that could be just as dividing as this.

And I think it comes down to communication.

We talked very early on that yeah, I was willing to try it.

And when I decided that I wasn’t going to

do it anymore, it was a conversation piece.

It wasn’t like I started to put a wall up.

It wasn’t like I started to kind

we’ve talked about it the entire time.

And I think what surprises a lot of people is

the fact that we are able to not only relationally

be together, but to work together on this thing.

And I actually think it’s those differences that have

become a strength as opposed to a weakness.

And some people would think that it

might be the other way around.

I can honestly tell you that if we’re sitting down

and for some reason it’s kind of like, you know,

when you’re playing a board game and it’s one small

spot in the entire floor, but your cat finds the

board game to go lie on.

When she’s sitting beside me smoking, I still do

the smoke tends to always no matter which way

she blows, it blows towards my face.

And I can honestly say I still kind

of like do the but it’s a joke

now and it’s not a completely negative thing.

And I’m actually on the side of I

don’t believe secondhand smoke is a real thing.

I think we’re actually going to do a test

of that shortly to find out whether or not

I have any cannabis in my system.

Just by hanging out with her.

We thought that would be an

interesting thing to look at.

But I think communication has been key.

And I think people are just mostly shocked about

the fact that it’s not a peripheral issue.

It’s her life, it’s medicinally, what

keeps her able to function.

And by me not taking apart in that,

I think it’s just surprising to people.

And quite honestly, I think

it comes down to communication.

Well, it’s funny you say you’re not taking apart in

it because you are taking a part in it.

He’s just not actually consuming it because there are

times that when working especially, I try and push

through whatever it is that we’re doing.

And Timmy is very aware of the fact that I need

to take that moment to stop and go and consume.

And he’ll actually say to me,

I think you need a minute.

And most of the time you’re right.

It’s something that when you communicate, and even if

it’s something that your partner may not agree with,

if you’re honest and the other person is compassionate,

there should be a way that you can communicate

a resolve for the both of you.

I think that it was really

powerful hearing how you described communication.

Both of you described communication in

your relationship because it really is.

I mean, something like baseball, right?

That could be a division in a couple.

If one person wants to go to games all

the time or watch the games and the other

person just has no desire for it whatsoever, that

could cause a real riff in a relationship.

And so as long as you have that

strong communication and ultimately empathy, then I think

you can work through just about anything.

I think that’s just a great analogy.

Well, one of the struggles that we have

had, I guess, and mainly we’ve been learning

about each other throughout this whole process, but

me just understanding that she needs those breaks.

Like when I plan to do an event as a touring

comedian, we get up sometimes we’re up on the road at

5, we’re driving to a venue, getting there at 1, setting

things up, performing at 7, tearing down on the road at

11, to a hotel up at 5 in the morning.

I live in this you just go world.

And the concept of her needing to prepare for

even a night out, let alone a 10 day

tour, and realizing that she doesn’t just need them,

I guess my mindset previously would have been, oh,

don’t worry about just smoke it later.

You don’t need it.

It’s only a 3 hour drive,

just wait till you get there.

And now that I’ve come to realize

that she actually needs it, like medicinally.

Just like I used to have to take a

Tylenol before every show because I would get these

neck strains, which has been gone ever since

I’d taken yoga.

These are yoga shoulders, by the way.

I recommend it for everybody, but I think

that’s been a big struggle for me.

It’s just been learning that I need to

pace my day a little bit slower.

So even on podcast shooting days, we record 4 episodes currently in

1 day, just due to our way we can make it work

and in that we have to put in smoke breaks.

And normally I would just pump these things out and

so me adjusting to that, but I think that goes

back to what we talked about with communication, is that

we’re constantly being open with the fact that she needs

to stop and her trusting that I’m not going to

say, oh, you stoner.

The first time we had the conversation.

And he’s like, trying to plan it out.

How often do you need a break?

And I’m like, Well, I need one

like every hour and a half.

He’s like, what?

And then we talked about it and that’s

why you’re like, okay, because that’s the discussion

you need to have the discussion. Sure. Yeah.

Now tell me about the show.

I’m excited to learn.

So you have these 2 different backgrounds.

You have these two different individuals.

Tell me how you came together and why

you decided to put a show together.

Well, those are sort of 2 different questions.

I want to touch on briefly how we

even got together, which led to podcast, because

it was completely and utterly happenstance.

It’s not like I went to a pot event.

I was emceeing an event.

She was a 1950’s model.

It was a charity thing that we were doing.

We were raising money for a pet organization in the

town that I live in, and I had done this

this was my second year in a row.

And the first year I did it, I kind

of, like, blacked out when I was on stage.

I don’t know what happened.

My son said, what happened up there?

I have no idea.

I have photos of me posing and smiling,

but I don’t remember any of it.

So I was determined to get over

my stage fright for the following year.

Which was the year I ended up meeting Timmy.

Because I decided I was going to make up

this ruse about carrying these green infused cookies.

And I needed a police officer to come and bust

me the cookies because I figured if I did that.

Then I would be focused on the whole gig.

That I wouldn’t be worried about whatever it was

that made me black out the year before. Sure.

So I asked all my friends, and of

course, none of them wanted to do it.

I called the organizer, and she said, well, why don’t you

why don’t you reach out to the emcee, the host?

I said, okay, this guy right here.

So I met up with him the day of the

event, and I brought him a badge and a pile

of green cookies, and I ended up making that green

cookie gag a gag throughout the entire thing.

She brought the picture. That’s us. Amazing.

So that’s actually the first picture of us.

We weren’t together, but that’s the

first picture of us meeting.

So we actually have a documentation of the

first time we actually met each other.

And as you can see, it’s framed.

It’s special.

It is a very great photo. But yes, we played into

the cookie thing, and I kept eating these cookies and

pretending that I was getting a little high up.

As a comedian, I saw this as an

incredibly good angle to take this thing with.

And from there, we just started to communicate online,

and I think it was just one of those

crazy moments where the differences, there was opposites attract.

I don’t know, whatever.

I call it energy, because I knew from the

first time I met him there was something.

I think I even told him I could read palms

because I was like, I can read your palm.

And he put his hand in my hand and no word of a lie.

When I said this is your

lifeline, I felt chills, chills.

And I was like, now imagine also

30 plus years of conservative Christianity.

Not only she’s smoking weed, but she’s

saying, I can read your palm.

I’m like, you’re absolutely nuts.

But she was super cute.

So I continued the going forward, but from that

the podcast flowed fairly naturally because we saw

right away there was a creative synergy.

Our humor is very different.

I’m more of a dry wit.

She’s kind of a really kind of wild and crazy.

I mean, outfits speak a whole lot in this regard,

but I can go that route and she can come.

So we had these kind of these crossover humors.

So we created this TikTok, which was

launched silently and is only now beginning

like we never told friends or family.

It’s called Tim and Janice on TikTok.

If you want to go check that out.

The best way to look it up is just search on TikTok.


We made it secretly, though, because our relationship was

still secret due to a whole lot of factors.

And it gave us a chance to test

our creative, how we could work together without

any pressure, because we could just create these

characters without anybody from our friends.

And my fans didn’t know about it.

There was no added pressure.

It was all supposed to be organic and

allow us to see, can we work together?

Is that part of our relationship as well?

And that really did well organically.

It did incredibly well and encouraged us.

We were able to test our own working patterns and

habits, how we can film a bunch of videos and

get smoke breaks, all those types of things.

And then from there, just like, what else do we do?

What is the thing?

And we have so many things we want to talk about.

We’re both talkers.

We both love talking.

We could go conspiracy.

We would go 1980s, we could go down.

We thought we were going to do

an 80’s, 90’s podcast.

And then we realized that there was this void in

the cannabis space where almost from an outsider and I

haven’t heard and seen I don’t even know what your

podcast is really about, but my perception is that it

seemed like everything we came across was cannabis people talking

to cannabis people talking about things that the cannabis listeners

most of the time already know.

So questions weren’t being asked of guests.

That seemed like obvious questions, whereas I realized that

I was asking questions and she was like going,

oh, I have to look into that again.

It’s like refreshing kind of as a long time cannabis

user, it’s like, oh, going back to basics almost, and

seeing she started to see the value in that.

And we realized that what about a show where

it literally is from both sides, where a cannabis

user is talking to a non cannabis user.

And it’s not like I’m anti and she’s pro.

We’re both going to be pro, but I’m

going to be able to ask questions that

a cannabis user wouldn’t ask another cannabis user.

And we’ve already seen people who watch

our show, and we do suggest watching.

We are on audio as well, but we almost

produced what we would say is a TV show

that happens to be in a podcast studio.

So if you can catch it on YouTube.

We actually hold the world record for

most umbrellas opened in a podcast studio. We do.

We broke that record a couple of times ago.

So the podcast became this place for us to go.

That’s something that we are both interested in.

I’m interested in having the conversation.

She’s obviously interested in teaching

and giving the proper information.

And we saw that it was a void.

And I think by the feedback

we’re getting, we’re filling that void.

We’ve had people from both sides, cannabis

users saying, wow, this is entertaining.

It’s being presented in a different way.

We’re really enjoying this.

And we’ve had non cannabis users watching our show because

they may not use it, but they have kids that

use it, or they have elderly parents who use it,

or they’re thinking about using it but are scared because

they don’t know it’s the disinformation.

Yeah, we’re really proud of it.

We’re just trying to be unique and being us.

And I think there’s a certain energy that we have

that seems to work, that people seem to enjoy.

And we’re talking about a serious issue

in a creative, light hearted, unique way.

Well, my favorite comment that somebody said

about us was even Ray Charles would

see how well we work together.

I love that.

Well, and I can tell from you two being on here for

the audience tuned in now, what is the best way for

them to watch your show and to tune in?

Well, everything.

I think if we did it right, if you just go at

the Newbie and the Doobie on any on anything, we’re there.

So YouTube, it’s the Newbie and the Doobie.

Then we have the podcast as well, which I think

you just search it in any of the podcasters.

Facebook and Instagram is the Newbie and the Doobie.

I think we had to change it to Timmy and MJ

on TikTok because this is one thing that I found too,

maybe you guys have in terms of promoting what you do.

We had 4 accounts under the Newbie and

the Doobie, all written up different ways.

It’s the word doobie and we were

getting shadow banned immediately, like 0 views,

nothing was coming in, I think.

So now on TikTok, we’re just Timmy and MJ and

we’re starting to get a little bit on there.

But it’s amazing to me, something I’ve learned so far

during this podcast is how no wonder there’s so much

misinformation out there because you’re not even allowed to

really promote or talk about it in the online

space, something that’s legal in our own country.

So that bothers me as an entertainer and

as someone who wants to talk about it.

When I discovered how hard it was for us

to get a Tik tok account with the Newbie

and the Doobie name attached to it. It is.

I remember when we first started with Instagram, we

had like 3 accounts banned within the first week.

So it’s been a challenge.

And I am just so grateful to

both of you for joining WeedBudz Radio.

I’m excited to tune into more of The Newbie and

the Doobie available everywhere and on YouTube as well.

Right? YouTube. Yeah, YouTube.

We would recommend that you can listen to it

on your earphones going for a jog and we

think it’s still funny and entertaining and informational.

I call it edutainment.

I’m sure maybe you’ve heard that word, but like I said,

for the full experience, you’re not going to see this.

You’re not going to see the Giraffe.

We had Towel Day where we

were in towels the entire day.

We had Jackie Childs on Towel Day and she joined in.

That’s great.

So there are things that you

can’t see through your ears.

Well, I hope everyone will go on to YouTube, check

us out, check out the Newbie and the Doobie.

I’m so grateful to all of you for tuning in and

be sure to head over to our show notes on weebudzradio.com.

That way all of the links to connect

with Timmy and Mary Jane will be there.

I thank you both so much again for joining me.

Oh, thank you so much Ry.

I really appreciate it.

We will see you all in the next episode.

A New and Healthier Habit w/ John Friess

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to another episode of WeedBudz Radio, with your host Ry Russell. On this show we love taking individuals from every aspect of cannabis, From THC, to CBD, to Delta-8 and so on. For this episode we have invited John Friess, the Co-founder & President of Metolius Hemp Company. John’s passion for what cannabis can do and how it can heal others led him to where he is now, creating innovative products contains CBD as replacements for those who use nicotine & tobacco. From cannagars, to pre-rolls, and even dip! The goal of Metolius is to help those who can not quit by themselves, and to replace their current habit with a much healthier one. Join us and learn about John’s journey and how his journey ended up with him helping others. Tune in!

John Friess
Metolius Hemp

Ry Russell
WeedBudz Radio
Manufactured Excellence
Knot Plastic

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/ryzabove)

Contact the host or our team using the form below!


Hey friends.

Welcome back to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m really excited to share our next guest with you.

We have John Friess, the co founder

and president of Metolius Hemp Company.

John, did I pronounce that right? Right. Yeah.



So John, I always ask people because I definitely

like most people, didn’t have this kind of normal

trajectory of using cannabis in high school and college

and then making my way into the industry.

It was a little unorthodox.

And so I’m always fascinated to hear how our

guests get into the cannabis and hemp space.

So I’m wondering, was this something that you just

had an idea one day that you are going

to partake in or was this something that you’ve

been involved with for a while?

Yeah, so I was researching CBD for our son

who’s on the autism spectrum disorder and also started

utilizing CBD for myself initially before his mother and

I approved the option for him to utilize it.

So starting with CBD tincture and started to see

the applications results for him, specifically in regards to

mood, behavior, sleep, and that was just tincture.

And about 3 years after that, I got a call from

my cousin who said we’re going to start growing hemp.

This is in 2017 and decided to move

out to central Oregon, join the farming company

and the rest is sort of history.

Were you living in Oregon at the

time or did you have to move? Yeah.

We were living in Portland, Oregon.

Moved to Bend, Oregon.

The company farmed for 3 seasons, went

from 1 farm to 4 to 7.

I know that’s not 7.

And we owned outright a couple of farms essentially.

And then the rest we coowned.

But what we saw was that

unfortunately, like almost all forms of

farming, the industry rapidly got commoditized.

Farmers were taking the brunt of the weight and the flower

that we were producing CBD flower at the time was being

put into consumer products that we thought were relatively subpar, way

too expensive and were essentially trying to find a niche or

a place to fit in the market.

And we thought there was something much, much bigger

here, which is that cannabis should be the direct

replacement for tobacco in all of its forms.

That’s fascinating because I’ve heard, and please tell me

more, but I’ve learned a little bit that the

tobacco industry is getting heavily regulated now.

I mean, it’s been regulated, but

heavily regulated where even menthol cigarettes

are being banned in some areas.

Are you seeing that as well?

Yeah, I mean, you’ve been seeing

massive taxation on everything from tobacco

based products to vaporizer based products.

And yes, you are seeing a ban on menthol cigarettes, which

has a series of issues attached to it as well.

But in the end, I think what they’re finding is

that to me okay, how should I say this?

The addictive nature of tobacco specifically because of

all the additives because of all the elements

that they place into cigarettes and things like

blunts and or cigars and or chewing tobacco.

Gives you a sense of how much

that behavior is wrote for people.

They can’t quit or they’re not prepared to quit.

And it’s sort of that adage of cigarettes

and beer before diapers is what they say

at many of the convenience stores.

And it’s a truism and it’s tough.

We think there is a way in which to get

people to still have that habit, if you will.

But we want to make a healthier habit.

They still have that vice, but we have a healthy vice.

So our belief is, and we’ve studied behavior modification

as much as we possibly can, and we’ve learned

a lot about it over the years, and the

truth of the matter is there are 3 primary

elements that come with any form of addiction.

Obviously, there’s the physiological effect, whether

it’s alcohol, nicotine, what have you.

2 is the social element.

Am I out with people? Am I interacting?

Am I taking a break?

And the third is a sense

of ownership on something that’s yours.

And even if that thing is unhealthy, and even

if you know it’s perhaps the least healthy thing

you can possibly do, I would put smoking a

cigarette or smoking cigarettes in that category.

If you can replace those 3 things, if

you can give someone a physiological effect, it’s

as good or better if you can allow

them to remain in those social situations.

And if in the end, you have the

ability to allow them to own something that

again, is ritualistic for them, that’s a vice.

But make it healthy.

All of a sudden you’re sitting on what

could be the largest opportunity we’ve ever seen

in the cannabis industry, which, again, is to

reduce or replace tobacco with cannabis.

Specifically non psychoactive CBD, CBG

and all the derivative cannabinoids.

Now, how did you come up with that recipe, if you will?

Were you looking for a tobacco replacement or

did you kind of stumble across this idea?

Candidly we stumbled across it.

We had been rolling what we consider

to be premium and enhanced prerolls.

So these were not just CBD cigarette alternatives.

They had cannabinoid content 5 to 7 times

that of a hemp cigarette you might find

at a dispensary or at a convenience store.

And what we found as well is that we

were mixing 2 types of flower, CBD and CBG.

And most people didn’t know what CBG was.

Many still don’t.

It’s just another cannabinoid.

They call it the stem cell cannabinoid.

But it has 2 primary properties

in regards to its efficacy.

One, it can actually help clean up

the CB1 and CB2 receptors. And two,

So if you have a high level of anything

in your system that’s cannabinoid based, it can help

sort of flush the system, if you will.

And then two, it can help increase the

bioavailability and the uptake of other cannabinoids.

And so we have been mixing CBD and

CBG and our pre rolls as a flower.

And then we decided we would coat them

with distillate tea free distillate, and then we

would enhance them with CBD isolate and CBD.

Kief by adding all 5 of those

byproducts into one preroll, people started saying

to us, I chew, I smoke cigarettes.

I have less cravings when I smoke this, too.

I am finding this to be a replacement.

And then the epiphany moment was last November when

one of our customers called and said, I’d like to an am

quitting cigars completely by smoking your cannagars

And so this is what he was ordering.

This is our 5 gram cannagar.

It is 5 grams of CBD, CBG flower

organic palm leaf, organic corn husk filter.

And inside is 5 grams of CBD, CBG flower

And then the outside is distillate.

Kief and isolate.

This product in particular was what he

wanted to utilize to quit smoking cigars.

He was smoking 2 to 3 a day.

And I said, what if we just

sent you a certain amount monthly that

would replace all the cigars you’re smoking? So, great.

I’ll order 30 of these a month.

And so that started our canna clubs.

Within about 2 weeks, we had about 14, 15

people signed up, all of whom were generally

replacing cigars with our 2 forms of cannagars

We have a 3 and a 5 grammer

And then we started finding people replacing cigarettes

with our pre rolls, either our half gram

or our 1 gram pre rolls.

And that started this whole movement where we

just said, let’s just start talking to people

about whether or not they’re utilizing tobacco, and

if they are, they can ultimately replace all

of their tobacco use with our solutions. That’s amazing.

And I know that the tobacco industry

also has a number of other products.

There’s gums, there’s pouches, there’s chewing tobacco.

I don’t even know all of

the products that necessarily exist.

Do you find that there are potential alternatives

for those types of products as well?

Yeah, absolutely.

Our internal vision is to reduce or

replace tobacco in all of its forms.

And our strategy is threefold.

Number one, it has to be the exact same form factor.

If you’re smoking a wide cigarette, a slim.

If you’re smoking a particular type of cigar, chewing

smokeless tobacco, we will match that form factor.

That’s number one, it’s critical.

Number two, we’ll match the price.

What are you spending now on tobacco based products?

We will match it so there’s no additional cost.

And three, we will make sure that in the end,

it’s delivered directly to your door, so you no longer

have to waste additional time away from life, work, family,

to go and receive or to retrieve tobacco based products.

We think those 3 elements make it way more

approachable and much more likely that you’ll be successful.

We understand that many of our customers

may never quit smoking completely, but we

say stop smoking, start toking.

I’ll give you this data point, which is pretty amazing.

The longest study ever done on cannabis

smoking is running about 21 years now.

And they looked at 4 types of people those who

never smoked anything in their lives, those that only smoke

cigarettes, those that smoke cigarettes in cannabis, and those that

only smoked cannabis after the 21 years.

What they’ve proven is that the people that have

the lowest propensity for lung disease, emphysema, and cancer

were the ones that smoke solely cannabis.

These joint years.

These are individuals are smoking at least about

a joint a day, if not more.

So they proved that you actually have a lower

likelihood of getting all of these conditions associated with

lung disease if you solely smoke cannabis.

That wasn’t a significant difference, but

there was a lower percentage.

Those that smoked only cigarettes versus those that never

smoked 21 times, 21 times off the charts, 21

times the likelihood of emphysema, lung disease, and cancer.

Those that smoked cigarettes and cannabis

dropped that by two thirds.

So what ends up happening is they’ve proven

that cannabis not only has 5 anticancer properties,

but in that particular study, which was thousands

of individuals that participated controlled study, they found

that you got about a twothirds lower likelihood

of having cancer, lung disease and emphysema by

just adding cannabis to your tobacco use.

Our goal is get off tobacco completely.

If you cannot, reducing it is dramatically better

than not reducing it, and we will support

you in whatever you want to do.

If you’re not ready to quit, we just

like you to consider taking a healthier hit.

Well, it sounds like you all really do the

research to back what it is that you’re doing.

And I’m interested because you all seem

so far ahead of the curve already.

And I’m curious, do you see yourself as that or do

you see yourself as having a lot more work to go?

I think we have a long way to go for sure

from a marketing and total impact that we want to have.

We would love to have millions of

people work with us if possible.

With that being stated, we do like to

attempt to launch products first, and we’ve been

able to do that thus far.

Each of our products were the first to market.

And so we’re always just going out in the marketplace,

seeing what exists and then saying, how can we replace

that with a product that, again, same form factor, same

price, and ultimately direct to your door.

When we launched the lip dips, for example, people

who got 3 flavors now cherry, mint, and orange.

But these are direct replacements

for Zen or smokeless tobacco.

So this comes with 15 pouches in it.

They’re almost identical to what a Zen

pouch looks like, feels like, acts like.

This, however, has 0 nicotine,

0 additives, 0 fillers.

This is 3 organic ingredients in total and

it delivers 100 mg of CBD per pouch.

And the most bizarre thing is dipping generally

is attributed to males, but about 45% of

the users of this product are female.

Now, you can put it in your lip in one

of the quadrants or whatever you sip, so you can

drop it into your tea or coffee, whatever you want.

The CBD will be distributed within the beverage.

But my point is, launching this is rapidly becoming

one of our best sellers, actually top two.

And all it is is an alternative that

is exactly what you wanted and needed.

And here’s the difference.

Nicotine, everyone knows what it does for you.

It definitely can immediately decrease

anxiety for many people.

It can give you a sense of euphoria and

not significant, but something of a body high.

CBD, though non psychoactive, does produce

a form of a high.

That high, though, is a sense of mental

clarity, decreased inflammation for many people, a greater

sense of I’m doing something good for myself.

And so the results, right, we can only make certain

claims, or very few claims, but once you give someone

exactly the same thing and it’s exponentially better.

To me, it’s no different than the company here in

Oregon that just launched an IPA based THC drink.

It is non alcoholic.

They have the right amount of THC in

it so that it gives you a similar

result physiologically to having a single beer.

But what they did is they put it into a

glass brown bottle and labeled it just like a beer.

All other forms of sales of these THC products

that were beverages were not selling as well as

they had hoped until they match the form factor.

You match the form factor, you give it

viable physiological results that are similar or even

better because you don’t wake up hungover.

Right, all of that.

It’s just the way the world we think

will go because that’s what people want.

I love that.

So that can also be essentially used

as a tea bag as well.

Yes, we’re going to probably launch this in a

couple of different forms, but yes, one of the

ways that we make this approachable and we’ve definitely

found that all of our products that are non

smokable are often the entry point for our customers.

So whether it’s a dip, whether it’s our sleep powder

that you take on a nightly basis, whether it’s our

Pain stick and pain roller, which many companies have, many

companies have, these allow you to start to bring CBD

into your life, or CBD and CBG as well as

other elements of the plant, but in a way that

doesn’t make you feel like you have to smoke.

But yes, this product in particular, you can just

drop it again in your lip or whatever you

sip and that gives people an option.

But what we do find is we go out

and we do events on a continual basis.

We have 2 pretty significant events this week.

We just give out samples of deeds.

And so our whole approach to every event

is, would you like a free CBD sample?

And people come up, we say, we have

the world’s first fully organic lip dips.

This is 100 milligrams of CBD.

This is the equivalent of

3 to 4 tincture droppers.

And then we say we say this to

them, what are you paying for tincture?

And I’m like, oh, I bought a bottle.

It was $70. It was $50.

I once bought one for $120.

Great, we’ll sell you this for $15.

And this is going to be the equivalent

of up to 3 tincture bottles of CBD.

And then what ends up happening is, regardless, essentially of

age, gender, all of that, people just grab it and

they’re like, so just throw it right here?

And we’re like, yes, and just do it.

90 year old women, 55 year old

guys in wheelchair, it doesn’t matter.

They just find it highly approachable.

Now, what separates because there’s for those tuned in,

there’s all kinds of CBD products on the market.

What separates a premium product from just

a standard product off the shelf?

I think it’s akin to what you might

see with wineries and breweries or food.

First off, it’s got to be local or

start local and hopefully be manufactured local.

Two organic, if at all possible.

Three, handcrafted and artisan.

And then fourth, and finally, a level of

quality that you can see, taste, feel, you

know, it’s there, it’s hitting on the senses.

And that’s what we attempt to do.

So when we show someone our cannagar,

they’re like, oh, so you make blunts?

We’re like, no, we don’t make blunts.

We make the world’s first premium enhanced cannagar.

And then you show them this

and they’re like, what is that?

And you’re like, this is almost an 8th

of cannabis in a device that’s all organic,

including the filter, including the paper, including the

flower, including the keif and the isolate.

And this will smoke for 35 to 45 minutes.

This is probably the equivalent of about

10 to 15, depending on which CBD

preroll you might purchase at a store.

And people are just like, that

was an experience I’ve never had.

First off, our tagline is this for this

product, it tastes like grass, not ass.

In the end, we’re trying to convert people.

I think the number one reason that people

want a premium product in the past was

because they felt like it was somehow definitive

of where they were at in life, perhaps.

And now I think we’re seeing a movement,

especially, I think food sort of drove this.

People are like, I just want quality food.

I’m willing to spend a little

bit extra if it’s quality.

And that has obviously permeated so

many other industries, including cannabis.

So we only want to do premium and enhanced, and

we want to build a brand that not only provides

that, but provides it at an affordable cost.

That’s the key.

Some of our products are very expensive if they’re

one offs, but that’s why the clubs make so

much sense, is because if you commit to us

to try and reduce replace tobacco, we will commit

to you at the lowest possible price.

We’re totally vertically integrated,

direct to your door.

We do not have any middlemen.

And so, for us, we can send you something the

same cost as a lip pouch, like a zen.

We can send you something that is exactly the same

cost as your Marlboro, or something that’s the same cost

as your cigar or whatever cigars you choose.

And that’s really what makes it work.

That’s amazing.

John, one last question for you.

Because you’ve been building

such an incredible business.

I’m curious, what are some of

the roadblocks that you’ve had?

Because all businesses have something that they have

to overcome, and especially in this space.

So what is one of the biggest challenges you all

have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Yeah, I’d say the primary hurdles in the

beginning were just associated with licensure and regulation,

which is great that it’s in place at

the level that it is, including in CBD

and on the non psychoactive side of cannabis.

So that was significant.

Everything from getting a manufacturing facility and getting

a lease, everything from getting licensure and approvals

make each and every one of our products,

testing every single 30 pound batch of flower,

testing every byproduct that goes into our products,

testing every finished product.

I don’t think the consumer quite as aware,

nor should they be, of what it takes

to get one of these products to you.

This is not like supplements where I

can just throw powder into a pill.

And if I’m in a particular state in the

United States, I can ship it to you and

claim that it can do all these wonderful things.

There are certain things we can and cannot say.

There is definitely a significant amount of testing

and regulation that is only growing with time.

And keeping up to speed with that,

I’d say, was the primary hurdle.

I’d say the secondary hurdle is no different than

any company in any industry in today’s world.

Marketing has become so significantly difficult and fragmented, it’s

as if you’re sitting in a meeting and saying,

how are we going to find our customers?

Everyone’s like, oh, we’re going to do events, we’re going

to do social, we’re going to do activation events, we’re

going to do paid placement, we’re going to get ambassadors

and influencers, we’re going to do the list goes on

and on and on and on.

And so I think that’s probably the most difficult

thing that we face, which I think is the

most difficult thing that every company faces, because the

best companies with the best products don’t always win.

They often don’t win the best marketed

products are the ones that win.

And that’s difficult to do when you’re not willing

to just spend cash as if it’s free.

And so I’d say those are probably

the two biggest hurdles we’ve faced.

I think what we’re attempting to do is just build

a brand that just reflects how our team lives and

how our customers live, which is we try to do

things that are valuable to individuals in society, but also

try to maintain some semblance of balance and have a

lifestyle that’s very active and chill.

Many of us on our team didn’t live that life, including

myself, for a number of years, and just come to the

point where you realize I can’t wake up every day and

work this hard on business, friendships, family, all of it, and

feel as though I don’t have any time to live in

a sense of just being in the world.

Our lives become so insanely packed with tasks and

activities that I just feel like most Americans at

least don’t take the time or are finding the

time to just sit back, relax, and sort of

think about where their lives are at and where

things are at and how they might change things.

So we’re trying to assist them in that

process with arguably one of the things that’s

maybe causing the most issues in their life.

If you are smoking 25 cigarettes a day and you’re

constantly having to go outside or leave social situations and

or are dealing with health issues and or your spouses

like, you smell all the time, I hate this habit.

What if you could change those things?

We literally have customers of ours now that

smoke our cannagars inside their homes and their

spouses are like, this is great.

I love the smell, not a problem.

And it’s just great that

you’re here interacting with us.

You’re not outside all of a sudden for an

hour and a half taking in a cigar.

Those things make a real difference with time.

But most importantly is how does it

impact your body and your mind?

And that’s the beautiful thing.

I know nicotine has its value, for sure.

And nicotine alone as a chemical

is not all that bad, but it’s all the things

that are around it that make it so terrible.

And so in the end, I think that’s

how we’re going to try to differentiate it’s.

Just constantly show people via content.

This is at least how we’re attempting to live life.

This is what we’re trying to create

as a company and a brand.

And let us help you.

Let us help you. No judgment.

Let’s go again.

Let’s reduce or replace everything

from tobacco, eventually pharmaceutical drugs.

We’re going to attempt to do some

things in regards to replacing alcohol.

We think it’s the most medicinally rich plant

on earth, and we think that’s been proven.

And we just want to make it accessible

to everybody in whatever form works for you. Amazing.

And for those that want to check out your products,

what is the best way for them to go to

your website and stay in contact with you? John?

Yeah, just go to metoliushemp.com

It’s metoliushemp.com or metolius.market

Either one.

That’s our web presence there.

You can request a sample if you would like.

Just email us at rollwithus@metoliushemp

or fill out the contact form on the website.

We’ll send you a sample of a product,

any one of our products you’d like.

See if it works for you,

see if it’s advocacious for you.

And then, of course, if you want to take one

additional step, that’s not quite a high level of commitment.

Purchase some products.

We usually have great promos going on.

Try them for a couple of days, a

couple of weeks, couple of months, and then

if it works for you, join the club.

Our clubs are by far the biggest focus of the

company because they provide anywhere from 30% to 73% off

retail, depending on the club and what we can afford.

And just to be honest, we do such a

nominal markup, some people are like, wait, you only

do a 15 or 21% markup over costs.

We do that because we understand it’s

the only way this is going to work.

I cannot charge someone the equivalent of $2 for one of

our pouches when they can get a Zen for $0.40.

We have to match the price, and the only way

to do that is through vertical integration and direct consumer.


Well, John, thank you so much for sharing your company

and your team and your products with me today.

Of course. Thank you.

This has been awesome.

And nice work on hitting over 100 episodes.

That’s freaking huge.

I appreciate it and I’m so grateful for

all of you tuning in as well.

Be sure to head over to

our show notes on weedbudzradio.com.

We’ll have all of the links to connect with

John and the company and check out their products.

We’ll see you in the next episode.

Cannabis & Incarceration w/ Santino Martinez & Shane Hammer

Hello Friends!

We want to welcome you to another important episode of WeedBudz Radio, with your host Ry Russell. Today we are re-introducing a guest who’s energy we loved so much he got invited back, Santino Martinez. Along with Tino we have a personal friend and powerhouse in the cannabis industry, Shane Hammer. Together these two came on to explain the social injustices people face today regarding cannabis, and more specifically inmates still incarcerated over cannabis related crimes. Kushy and 40 Tons are teaming up to end the war on drugs and to share the story of Corvain Cooper, who was given a life sentence for a cannabis crime, and granted clemency by former president Donald Trump. The family built this brand and gives proceeds directly to those 40 thousand still incarcerated, whether putting it on their books, helping with travel arrangements, or programs to help get former prisoners on their feet. Join us and learn how these two are giving back to the community and helping those who are struggling. Tune in!


Shane Hammer & Santino Martinez
Design Kush
40 Tons

Ry Russell
WeedBudz Radio
Manufactured Excellence
Knot Plastic

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/ryzabove)

Contact the host or our team using the form below


Hey, everyone.

Welcome back to another incredible

episode of WeedBudz Radio.

I’m your host Ry and I’ve got

2 amazing guests with me today.

One might look very familiar to all of you.

Santino, thanks for coming back.

Oh, you know it.

Thank you for having us Ry.

It’s always a pleasure being on the show.

And we have a new face on WeedBudz Radio, Shane Hammer.

Shane, welcome to WeedBudz.

Thanks for having me Ry.


Well, Santino, the last time you were here, we talked

a little bit about some of the music that you

are making, some of the videos that you have done.

I wanted to follow up with that

and just learn a little bit more.

How was the response to that and

what are you working on now?

Yeah, I mean, in the music game,

it’s always the coin toss, right?

You have great expectations for the projects you do

and quality was fine and those sorts of things.

And the people who we wanted to

receive the video well, received it well.

So the industry partners that we have and the

people who we were shouting out like Michael Thompson,

I think it helped to get the message across

about his story and what he had going on.

It did what it needed to do for us.

I got to perform those songs out in

Arizona, Texas for a couple of weed events.

So I think I was overall happy

with the music that was made.

That’s amazing.

Well, congratulations again.

I love listening to it.

I love watching and I saw a couple

of Instagram stories of you performing live.

What was it like to finally be live again?

It was amazing.

And I’m glad that now we’re starting to open up again.

I’m seeing more shows, even locally,

starting to open up for me.

It’s what I love to do.

So getting back out, seeing the people, getting to tell

my story in front of a crowd again was great.

Can’t wait for more. Awesome.

Well, I can’t wait for more as well.

And Shane, you are a new face to WeedBudz Radio.

You’re not a new face to me.

Good friend here.

And I’ve been following your journey, I guess it’s been almost

2 years now and I realized we’ve talked so much about

the work that you do in the cannabis industry and I

want to get into that, but like we did with Santino

when he was here last time, I’m curious what you are

doing before you got into the cannabis industry.

I don’t think we really talked about that before.

No, I don’t think we’ve covered that.

And that’s a great question.

That’s always a question that is top

of mind for a lot of people.

What did you do before this?

So, for me, I did a couple

of other startups in the marketing space.

I did a pretty long run at Verizon

Wireless, a little bit of time at BMW.

But, yeah, for the most part, I’d say for

about the last four and a half, five years I’ve

been doing the startup life and working on some

branding projects and things like that.

Tyler Aldridge and I connected about what would

be 2 years ago and had some pretty

good success with a couple of brands.

The market said yes to Kushy.

So we’re doing Kushy and super excited to

offer these tools to folks and got a

pretty awesome promo coming out as well.

Aside from that, not much, man.

I’m a pretty regular guy.

Santino and I are laughing.

I don’t know that anything is regular about you.

You’re a unique individual, that is for sure.

And you mentioned Kushy.

I’d love to learn a little bit.

I know you and Tyler kind of built out

this startup and you are heavily involved in kind

of the ecommerce space and development space.

I was wondering if you could kind of take us on

a journey, if you will, from, I think so many startups

in the cannabis industry in the last few years.

They’ve really developed fast, they

evolve fast, they pivot quick.

And so I’d love for you to kind of share

a little bit about what that journey looked like.

Yeah, you definitely hit the nail on the head there.

This niche is moving super quick and Tyler

is kind of a genius when it comes

to developing out the branding kit.

And so we have the opportunity to put

a couple on the marketplace and really see

what was attainable for our team.

But the big picture for us

was we wanted to help people.

We saw that need for folks needing help with

basically all things digital media, especially in cannabis.

They’re already working with a lot of

aches and pains and legal hurdles even.

But yeah, that said, we put out Design

Kush, had a handful of great clients, did

a couple of pro bono projects.

Kushy was kind of the asset to that.

It’s kind of the software side of things.

So it’s our website builder social media toolbox

and then we’ve got kind of a full

reporting suite that goes with that and there’s

much more that goes with it as well.

But that all said Ry, for us, we wanted

to help people, so we wanted to impact the

space but also make sure that we were doing

our part with the reform around social justice. Right?

And so we did last prisoner projects

website through our Design Kush brand.

And right now we’re working with really one of my

favorite brands that I found today in the cannabis space.

It’s a 40 Tons brand.

It’s ran by a really great organization.

Kushy is doing a pro bono project with them and we’re

rolling up our sleeves on a couple of other efforts.

But yeah, man, we’re just really excited.

The crazy thing actually is, and I don’t think a

lot of people know this, Kushy is kind of a

revamped model we had our first Kushy client back in

2018, really before the market really took off, like it

just did in this last year.

But that all said, I guess just looking back

on it, talking about pivoting and aches and pains

and hurdles, it took us basically, what’s, a little

over 3 years just to get a brand name

that sticks, grab at least a dozen use cases

with great customer success and customer satisfaction, and have

the market say, yes, we want more.

But what you also look at is we

pivoted away from a couple of different projects

because it just didn’t make sense.

And I think if you’re in the cannabis

space, you know that, but if you’re getting

into the cannabis space, you should be prepared

to make educated decisions rather quickly.

That’s basically it there.

I know Tino’s got a pretty solid

outline on the 40 Tons brand.

I’d love to plug that a little bit just because

the way that Kushy and 40 Tons are going to

be working together, I think it’s going to be a

real game changer to kind of showcase what folks can

do when they team up together.

So I don’t know if I’d be taking over your

show, but can Tino talk a little bit about that?


Yeah, definitely.

So 40 Tons of the brand with a powerful story. Right.

Corvain Cooper was given a

life sentence for cannabis crime.

He was granted clemency by

the former President Donald Trump.

And as he was exiting the presidency,

Anthony Allegretti, Lauriel Allegretti, his wife and

Corvain, they got together, built this brand.

It’s a clothing brand, lifestyle brand that

gives money back directly to the people

impacted by the war on drugs. Right.

So all of these 40,000, it says right here

on the side, free the 40K that’s for the 40,000

prisoners who are still locked away for cannabis offenses.

So what they do is they take proceeds

from the clothes that they make, and they’ll

give them directly to the people impacted.

So they’ll put money on their books.

They are trying to establish and facilitate visitation so

that families in one state with loved ones who

are locked away in another state can go and

travel to see those people while they’re incarcerated.

They also use that money to do programs like

coding for not only children in underserved neighborhoods, but

also for the formerly incarcerated as well, right?

So to give life options and choices to

these people who are coming out of prison.

We all know it’s difficult for a person with a

felony on their record to be existing and thriving in

the world after you get out of prison.

So they’re trying to bridge that gap

and create those possibilities for them.

And their story is great.

They’ve been doing amazing things.

They’re growing so fast.

They’re all over the place.

I’m sure you’ve seen them on

social media just going wild.

We definitely took their story to heart and wanted

to help them as much as we could.

So we’ve been partnering with them

to create this 710 promo, right?

We all know 710 the

national holiday for cannabis concentrates.

So we have a 710 promotion going on with

them where we’re trying to give $40,000 back to

40 Tons to help the 40K prisoners, right?

So, yeah, we can get into the details

of that maybe a little bit later.

I’ll show our promo as we come to a close.

Well, I know that when I first met

you, Shane and Tino, that I remember you were

working on the Last Prisoner Projects website.

I remember how passionate the

entire team was about that.

And this seems like such a natural fit into

the ecosystem that which you are all creating.

And so I know I’m grateful and I know

that the audience is tremendously grateful that organizations are

looking at this in finding ways to get involved

because there are so many companies and startups and

agencies within the cannabis space that I think have

a real opportunity and obligation, really, right?

This is our community.

So I love that this aligns so

well with what you’re working on.

And I’m curious, Shane and Santino, we’ve talked about it

in your music in the last time that we met.

But Shane, where does this passion come from?

How do you get the entire team’s

buy in into these sorts of organizations?

Not that it’s hard, but just how do you

orchestrate something like that while building a startup?

That’s a great question, and I think

Tino would agree when I say this.

I think it’s just a certain type

of person comes into the cannabis space. Right.

Cannabis helps a lot of people, but I think

when you have a certain skill set and you’re

maybe slightly enabled or for me, I just feel

like it’s almost my civic duty in some sense.

But all members of the team we have now and

even folks we worked with in the past, they’ve all

jumped on board themselves just because they see how important

it is, just like we all do.

And to give you a little bit of an

insight, actually, I think everybody has their own story.

We just heard Tino explain Corvain’s story and actually, to

kind of backpedal, it is a great fit with that

too ride because Corvain is actually on the LPP board

and so him working over with 40 Tons and establishing

that with Anthony and his wife and them running that

and how Design Kush are doing the pro bono project on

that website, it all makes sense.

But to get back to what I was saying, until

you really ask someone that question, you might not know.

But for me, I’ve got 2 good

friends that have been locked up.

I’ve got one good friend that’s still locked up.

And then this is just for basically

growing a plant, farming a plant.

A plant that saves lives and helps people

and gets people off real bad drugs and

helps people eat who can’t eat.

I mean, I can probably name over a hundred

different things that the plant does, but for me,

I take a lot of passion of that.

And I had a friend get real depressed over a

court case that he was going to hit and he ended

up, what some people say is he took his life.

I just want to say it was a bad overdose on

a bad drug, but yeah, I’ve just seen it firsthand, man.

It impacted me in some type of way.

And so I’m really passionate about this

40 Tons and Kushy project right now.

And we’re going to be able to uplift

40 brands and some dispensaries in the process,

but also bring everybody together and like Tino

was saying, offer financial support and legal services

and the visiting program is huge, man.

Some of these people, you get locked up in Colorado

when you’re in the feds, you might get shipped down

to Florida and that’s hard to get down there

for some folks, it’s literally impossible

or like a holiday gift program.

And it’s like these are lost souls they’re forgotten, which

is sad, but this is a really small initiative too.

So for us, at the end of the day, we’re

hoping what this is going to do is springboard other

companies into taking these types of initiatives, getting creative with

their marketing, but being able to put in the effort

to not give up to make sure it happened, right?

That’s where I stand on that.

And I would say the sad thing is I’m

one of lots of people that have had family,

friends, and different associates get locked up.

And if you really think about

it too, man, it’s fucking crazy.

Pardon my French, but just think about it.

There’s a little over what?

Over 40,000 folks just sitting in an 8 by 8.

I think how big they are.

I was stretching it, man. Shit, my bad.

So, yeah, it sucks, man.

I’ve cried over it and I’m not even in it.

So I’m out here and doing as much as we can do.

We feel like a lot of good success is

going to come from this Kushy, 40 Tons promotion.

So we’re super excited.

Like I said, we’ve got that list.

We’re basically looking for 40 businesses to say

yes to it and check it out.

We’re already starting to get people on the list

and so we feel super confident on it.

And we were going to run it through 710 and kind of

do this thing, but we got such good feedback we’re going to

push it through to October and we got a couple of other

surprises coming out too, so it should be fun. Amazing.

Well, there’s going to be a lot to talk about.

Santino, what were you going to say there?

Oh yeah, now just to piggyback, right?

I think you said it right, Ry.

We have an obligation.

An obligation.

This is our industry.

We need to kind of own the fact that

while people are out on the outside making millions

of dollars, there’s companies valued in the billions.

States are making hundreds of billions of

dollars off the revenue from this plant, right?

Then we need to have a hand also in correcting

the wrong that was incarcerated people for this plant.

Like Shane says, right?

We all know somebody at this point.

We all know somebody who’s either been arrested, stopped and

frisked any kind of interaction with police and the law

over cannabis. It’s bullshit, and it has to stop.

And we just had a great olympian, right?

Or potential olympian just lose her opportunity

to go shine on the world stage

because of this plant, Sha’Carri

So this is just ridiculous.

So anything that we can do to reverse the

wrongs, right the wrongs, we need to do that.

It’s really tough, too, when we’ve got

superstars in those types of situations.

But then we’ve also got the White

House recommend classifying cannabis retailers alongside smoke

shop, which is I don’t know, it’s

kind of contradicting everything that’s going on.

And you’ve got Connecticut launching, like, an awesome

informational website on cannabis up in Alaska,

they just put someone on the board.

I’m not saying this correctly.

I’m naive to the exact title, but some type of cannabis

educator is now sitting up on the board up there.

And then we’ve got companies like Greenflowers,

they’re getting all their programs set up

with a bunch of different colleges.

And then just this morning I was reading I think

it was from March to January, New York’s arrests, it

was like 90% people of color correlated to cannabis.

And it’s like, how can we have that going on

on one facet and then all this other positive stuff?

So it’s like it has to end, and we

all have to come together to make that happen.

I like that you consider a civic duty.

I think that’s something that more organizations can really take

a look at and see how do they get involved?

I think a lot of organizations try to get

involved in some way or another, but you’ve identified

multiple ways that individuals and organizations can get involved.

I’d love to talk a little bit about Kushy

and what Kushy is and who it serves and

tell me a little bit about the platform.

Yeah, absolutely, man.

It’s real simple.

We’re big fans of the acronym KISS.

Keep it stupid simple.

So for us, we had a bunch of success over the years,

and that was with this kind of really the secret sauce.

And so we implemented that on the Kushy

and it’s a website builder, so you can

quickly and easily create a beautiful, elegant website.

They look perfect on every device.

So it’s a responsive setup.

So that means it works on

a desktop, a tablet, mobile device.

And we just got the progressive web

app feature set up because, excuse me,

Google, they basically run everything.

And the other couple of search engines, so

they’re saying, hey, we’re going to rank websites

higher when you have this switch flipped.

Basically we’ve got the website segment of it,

and then we’ve got the social media toolbox,

or what we like to call campaign.

This is where you can create and organize content.

You can also automate, post, scheduling, and then

you can manage all your channels with these.

And there’s a really nice dashboard

where you see all this.

You can add your team members, if you’ve got some team

members that are like, hey, look, social media is not my

thing, but I’d love to be involved in it, and maybe

I’m in a director role and I need to submit approvals.

You can send this stuff right to someone’s

phone and they can comment on it and

make any recommendations or changes they want.

Then we’ve also got, like I said,

a pretty extensive reporting segment to this.

So with the website and all the social media, we’re

reporting on all those analytics and they kind of talk

to each other in a sense because we track all

the website traffic, where it’s coming from, Instagram, Direct, if

you’re running ads and what have you.

But then also on the social media side, we’re

tracking all the data as well, so you can

really get in there and refine your approach.

That all said, it’s also backed by a cannabis agency.

The first brand, all this was Design

Kush, where we had the initial success.

And so with that said, customer success and

customer satisfaction, those are our real big KPIs.

We look at through the business development

side of things with Kushy, and we’ve

got a plethora of brands on it.

Right now, our own Design Kush

agency is built through the platform.

The Hawaii Cannabis Association is built on there,

40 Tons who we were just speaking on

their website is built on there.

And then we’ve got a plethora of

other dispensaries, nonprofits, different CBD brands.

Basically, we wanted to test the market and

see if this could help basically everybody.

So, yeah, right now, Tyler, I don’t even know if

I’m supposed to say this, but I’m going to.

Tyler’s working on the kind of

the do it yourself portion.

I’ve been excited about this for the last few months.

I told a couple of people about it behind the scenes.

But yeah, that’s coming out here in the future where

someone can actually just go on there and pick out

a template that’s already kind of premade and has some

slight directional elements to it that says, throw your logo

here, add call to action here.

And then for all the DIYers out there and

people come into the space, or the people who

have great marketing teams that are like, hey, we

want to manage all this stuff ourselves.

It’s kind of all inclusive. So that’s

basically the longer version on Kushy.

I know that with all these different

tools out there, you can use any

kind of scheduling tool or website builder.

I just know in the cannabis space, it’s

nice to have peace of mind that you’re

working with a team that speaks the language.

I worked as a budtender way back

when and professionally advocated for amendment 64.

He’s at least a decade of farming under his belt,

if not more, and his whole family comes from a

really awesome history of farming and what not.

And then the rest of the team, all

the team members we’ve had have just been

really passionate about the plant first.

I think that’s what it is.

Actually, speaking of, I got my

first little plant growing ever, actually.

Yeah, man, it’s a little Rocky Mountain strain.

I just flipped a little seed and some

dirt and just letting mother nature rain on

it and wind and all the things.

And actually me and my partner Lauren, we went camping for

what, 3, 4 days, man, and we came back and this

little lady hopefully is a couple of inches big.

Anyways, that’s Kushy. Tino, I don’t know. What did I miss man?

I probably missed some stuff.

Well, no, just brands that we like to help, right?

I think even with Design Kush and even

though we’ve helped a plethora of brands who

have all kinds of different motives, right?

I think the brands that we do want to

reach out to and do want to help tend

to be those in the equity space, right?

Women owned businesses, right?

Trying to help conscious businesses.

Businesses with the goals of not only

just promoting the plant health, wellness, right?

But also companies who aren’t just trying to come

in here and be the Walmart of weed.

I know we all have lofty aspirations

and goals in this space, right.

We all want to go and get it, and that’s fine.

There’s enough to get.

But the cannabis culture is based on community.

The cannabis culture is based on sharing, right?

We pass the joint, you pass the peace

pipe around the table, right around the horn.

Let’s get it.

So those are the kinds of owners

and operators that we’re trying to find.

People with a sense of what this

culture actually is, what it means.

The patients that this plant helps as well, right?

People with patience in mind, those are the

types of businesses that we’d like to help. Amazing.

Well, and before we wrap up, if we are one

of those businesses, and I know we have a lot

tuned in, if we’re one of those businesses, how do

we connect with you two gentlemen and how do we

find out, learn more, how we can get involved?

Great question. Go ahead.

Yes, go ahead.

Take it away, Shane.

I’ll just say, man, same old, same old.


Tino and I and the rest of

the team, we’re usually on the website chat.

So if you have any questions, you

could just chat with us right away.

You could call or text us as well.

I can plug that number here in about 20 seconds.

Find us on all of the

social media @trykushy, trykushy .com like you said.

I’m never scared to say what’s up to

you on my personal Instagram, anything like that.

Please come say what’s up to me.

I use my artist’s name.

We shared that last time, Ry, for sure.

But it’s Dr. Spaztastic for everybody

who doesn’t know Santino Martinez.

If you need to find me through name and

yeah, we’re here to talk with you, walk you

through the process, answer any questions that you have.

If it’s not about the service, about

ways that you can improve your business.

If we can give you helpful tips, we love to do that.

We were just doing that today with

a company called the Lit Dump. They’re awesome.

You need to check them out. Cool.

Awesome little product device that just blocks the

wind for you when you’re trying to smoke.

Go check them out.

Go check them out.

And that number is 720-741-7267.

If you want to talk to a real

person, you can also text that number.

It’s 720-741-7267.

You can also just email

Santino and I trykushy.com

Shane and then Santino.

But yeah, otherwise it’s a website chat.

We’re always here. Awesome.

Well, gentlemen, thank you both so

much for joining me today. Yeah, thank you, Ry.

It’s always a pleasure.

Man absolutely.

And thanks to all of you for tuning in.

What’s that, Shane?

Excited to see what you have coming out.

Man yes, we’ve got the golf tees that

we just launched, so it’s been crazy over

here in the tinker lab for sure.

But I’m just so grateful for all of you, for

the 2 of these fine gentlemen, all of you tuning

in to another episode of WeedBudz Radio.

Be sure to head over to the show notes.

We’ll have the contact info for both of them.

And we’ll see you all in the next episode. Take care.