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Ep.185: John Whiteman, Wana Brands/Introview w/ Andrew Jolley, The Source

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.185: John Whiteman, Wana Brands/Introview w/ Andrew Jolley, The Source

Ep.185: John Whiteman, Wana Brands/Introview w/ Andrew Jolley, The Source

John Whiteman of Wana Brands joins us to discuss the Wana story. He takes us through his personal history and how he found himself in the cannabis space. John discusses the early days of the medical market in Colorado and the various products Wana tested before settling in on the current product assortment. The conversation happened a few weeks back and John brings up polling in Nevada…which works out well as Andrew Jolley of NV returns to give us an update on where we are with that ballot initiative as the opposition gets underway.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: John Whiteman and Andrew Jolley, John Whiteman, have wanna brands, joins us to discuss the story, takes us through his personal history and how he found himself in the cannabis space. John discussed the early days of the medical market in Colorado and the various products want to test it before settling in on the current product assortment. The conversation happened a few weeks back and John brings up polling in Nevada, which works out well, is Andrew Jolley of Nevada returns to give us an uptodate ballad initiative report as the opposition gets underway. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handler can economy. That's two ends and the word economy, and if you're into more direct communication, feel free to send me an email@engageatCanneseconomy.com. John Weidman proceeded by Andrew Jolley and we've got a andrew major

Speaker 1: jolly from Nevada organic remedies. But, but you, you, you told me, you know, sure, that's the company name, but, uh, you guys are the source. That's what folks know you from. That's right. That's the name of our dispensary is the source. All right, so since we really didn't talk about the dispensary last time at all, before we get to a kind of the Nevada update from you, and thank you for providing it. Uh, you know, the stores. Tell us about it. Let's get into that a little bit. Uh, what is the latest from the source? Well, we've been open since December 10th of last year and we've been very, very fortunate. We have an amazing staff and great patients and we just opened our second location today. In fact, in Henderson. Look at. Alright. So, uh, you've got the two locations, uh, you know, what, what, uh, what's on the shelves? What are folks, uh, purchasing? What, uh, what is, uh, what's the

Speaker 4: low. Well, we've seen an enormous growth in the market here in the past year in Nevada. When we first opened, there were only a couple of cultivators, operational and now we have 30 or 40 and so we have 30 different strains of flower on our shelves. We probably have the same number of concentrates. We have a good selection of edibles, vapor products, cbd products, infused products. We have a lot of really, really good high quality products here in Nevada. Finally. So things are looking really good for, for our customers.

Speaker 1: Okay. So there we go. I mean, it, it, it has taken awhile. Um, but, but as far as, uh, as far as you guys are concerned that it sounds like it's a, it's turned a corner. We really have actual operating dispensaries with actual operating product.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Today we have 42 operating dispensary's in the state, about 35 of those are down here in the Las Vegas Valley. And like I said, we have a lot of cultivators and, and good edible companies that are operational. So yeah, we've seen a lot of positive growth in the industry over the past 12 months.

Speaker 1: And so, uh, it is time then, uh, to, to talk about a adult use, you know, the, the medical market is now, you know, on, on the board, so to speak. And so last time you gave us kind of an overview of, uh, of where we were and here we go. We're going to talk about where we are now. And uh, you just told me before we started that a, the opposition Kinda launched last week, so to speak.

Speaker 4: Yeah. They finally came out of the woodwork and launched a website and got some news coverage. They held a press conference and they're tired. Old Story is now out for people to, uh, to think about

Speaker 1: tired old story. What, uh, what talking points are a, is the opposition going within Nevada.

Speaker 2: John Whiteman and Andrew Jolley, John Whiteman, have wanna brands, joins us to discuss the story, takes us through his personal history and how he found himself in the cannabis space. John discussed the early days of the medical market in Colorado and the various products want to test it before settling in on the current product assortment. The conversation happened a few weeks back and John brings up polling in Nevada, which works out well, is Andrew Jolley of Nevada returns to give us an uptodate ballad initiative report as the opposition gets underway. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social with the handler can economy. That's two ends and the word economy, and if you're into more direct communication, feel free to send me an email@engageatCanneseconomy.com. John Weidman proceeded by Andrew Jolley and we've got a andrew major

Speaker 1: jolly from Nevada organic remedies. But, but you, you, you told me, you know, sure, that's the company name, but, uh, you guys are the source. That's what folks know you from. That's right. That's the name of our dispensary is the source. All right, so since we really didn't talk about the dispensary last time at all, before we get to a kind of the Nevada update from you, and thank you for providing it. Uh, you know, the stores. Tell us about it. Let's get into that a little bit. Uh, what is the latest from the source? Well, we've been open since December 10th of last year and we've been very, very fortunate. We have an amazing staff and great patients and we just opened our second location today. In fact, in Henderson. Look at. Alright. So, uh, you've got the two locations, uh, you know, what, what, uh, what's on the shelves? What are folks, uh, purchasing? What, uh, what is, uh, what's the

Speaker 4: low. Well, we've seen an enormous growth in the market here in the past year in Nevada. When we first opened, there were only a couple of cultivators, operational and now we have 30 or 40 and so we have 30 different strains of flower on our shelves. We probably have the same number of concentrates. We have a good selection of edibles, vapor products, cbd products, infused products. We have a lot of really, really good high quality products here in Nevada. Finally. So things are looking really good for, for our customers.

Speaker 1: Okay. So there we go. I mean, it, it, it has taken awhile. Um, but, but as far as, uh, as far as you guys are concerned that it sounds like it's a, it's turned a corner. We really have actual operating dispensaries with actual operating product.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Today we have 42 operating dispensary's in the state, about 35 of those are down here in the Las Vegas Valley. And like I said, we have a lot of cultivators and, and good edible companies that are operational. So yeah, we've seen a lot of positive growth in the industry over the past 12 months.

Speaker 1: And so, uh, it is time then, uh, to, to talk about a adult use, you know, the, the medical market is now, you know, on, on the board, so to speak. And so last time you gave us kind of an overview of, uh, of where we were and here we go. We're going to talk about where we are now. And uh, you just told me before we started that a, the opposition Kinda launched last week, so to speak.

Speaker 4: Yeah. They finally came out of the woodwork and launched a website and got some news coverage. They held a press conference and they're tired. Old Story is now out for people to, uh, to think about

Speaker 1: tired old story. What, uh, what talking points are a, is the opposition going within Nevada.

Speaker 4: They have settled on children as their main topic. They went through two other topics, if you will, before that. And you know, when they started their, their rhetoric early on, it was really about the negative health implications of cannabis. That message fell flat. And so they shifted to a pretty novel, a message creating this idea of big marijuana or big pot trying to draw some kind of a comparison between the cannabis industry and the tobacco industry that felt that fell flat or than a pancake. So now they're onto their third round of messaging, which is, you know, when in doubt, let's just scare people with unreal, unrealistic and unreasonable, you know, scare tactics.

Speaker 1: And so what, what, what are those, what do they, how are they messaging, you know, this is about the children. What, what, what's the, what's the actual kind of angle

Speaker 4: they're saying things like children will have increased access to marijuana products, including things like edibles, which can look like candy or other forms of food.

Speaker 1: Are they coming out to also against tide pods, which, uh, look, uh, uh, very much like candy look very appetizing, look like something I'd love to seek my sink my teeth into. Is there. Is there that a tab on the website?

Speaker 4: Yeah, they have a, an ad that they, they call can you spot the pot? And it shows an array of candies and things like that. And so, you know, it's actually fairly effective, um, message if you're just trying to play off of peoples uneducated fears. And so in a sense, you know, I think we need to, as an industry, we need to take their message and learn from it because I think we can do better as an industry and how we protect accidental consumption. Um, but it's certainly not the type of problem or the scale of the problem that they are, they're trying to portray.

Speaker 1: No, without question. And I, I, you know, I was actually being sarcastic, I was saying the tide pods, you know, look and feel like candy, uh, but those are available on a traditional supermarket shelves as far as the product that's in your shop, how, you know, how much of the product that you guys are offering. Um, you know, has a childproof packaging, etc.

Speaker 4: Everything we sell has childproof packaging. It's alrEady mandated in the medical program requirements.

Speaker 1: And you, you had mentioned some, some imagery associated with the messaging, uh, about, uh, you know, cannabis and children that they're, that the opposition is using there in Nevada.

Speaker 4: I'm sorry seth, I didn't catch that part.

Speaker 1: you had mentioned some, uh, some of the images that they're using as far as supporting their, their, their message, which so far we've, we've not been able to, uh, to, to totally understand, uh, what are they supporting that, uh, that message with?

Speaker 4: Well, they're just showing pictures of lollipops and have ice cream cones and things like that and things that would maybe naturally appear to a child or be marketed towards a child and they're saying things like, can you spot the pot? So again, playing on the fear that children would be unable to distinguish between an infused candy and a non infused candy and that would presumably lead to accidental ingestions is, is kind of the fear that they're trying to portray. Right. Fair enough. In one product comes and childproof packaging in a one, a one does not. There's also pictures or images of children themselves. Is that right? yeah, they have pictures of kids on breathing tubes and stuff like that on their website, which, you know, as a father of four I find incredibly offensive. I mean, I'm, no one's ever overdose from marijuana. Let's put this in perspective.

Speaker 4: Let's have a balanced view when you consider the harmfulness of other products that are readily available in everyone's home from laundry detergent, pods to alcohol, to prescription drugs. and so, you know, if you're looking for good, unbiased information, definitely not the right place to go. Um, if you like stirring up fear and doubt and stuff, I guess that's, that's what they're hoping to do. Yeah. I mean, what, how would that image of a kid with tubes be associated with cannabis at all? You know, what, where, where would we have found that image? Uh, if it's actually what they say it is. You know, the funny thing is, is that the main guy running the opposition campaign is a former legislator and lobbyist here in Nevada and he's previously worked for large tobacco companies and alcohol distributors. And so it's, I find it horribly offensive that a guy who was previously promoted the interests of tobacco companies would now focus on these, um, undeserved and unwarranted, uh, fears about cannabis.

Speaker 4: But, you know, I guess his job is not to be balanced or to be objective, it's to win a campaign. So I hope, I hope the Nevada voters kind of see through that. Well, uh, let's talk about what they are seeing. Um, you know, yes, you've got that, uh, that one, uh, person. Um, but you, you also said that the opposition got some, some media coverage, uh, specifically where they held a press conference last week. And so, um, they were featured in some of the, uh, the new stations and uh, you know, the review journal newspaper, one of our local newspapers covered the story, um, which also, as we discussed last time set happens to be owned by our, uh, our favorite guy. Mr adelson now. And, and how was the story covered in that paper? Well, it's very biased. I mean, ever since adelson took over the rj, he's been firing staff who are in support of legalization or even medical marijuana to be honest. And so, you know, I've seen the coverage go from fairly balanced to very, very biased in favor of the opposition. Uh, you, you were sharing,

Speaker 1: you know, not only do they have the kind of centerpiece of a, um, you know, safety children, child safety, children's safety, um, but there also, um, is a message along the lines of supporting the infrastructure. What, uh, what were you getting at there when we were talking about that earlier before we started?

Speaker 4: Well, the, the people who have come out vocally in opposition of question two and opposition of legalization are kind of the republican establishment in this state who relies on funding from adelson, you know, he's the single largest contributor to the Nevada republican caucus. And so it's no surprise that the people who have benefited from his contributions are now coming out in opposition of question to which he is more than likely funding.

Speaker 1: Interesting. So it's not necessarily a directly a check, although I'm sure we'll find out. Uh, but you can certainly see his hand.

Speaker 4: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think his fingerprints are all over this and we'll find out in october when the next disclosures are due, whether or not you know, he or somebody else's behind the financing for the opposition. But it is interesting to see how it's played out. Like I said, they've changed their messaging a three times now and um, you know, I, I, like I said, I just hope that Nevada voters are educated and aware enough to kind of see through the myth versus fact.

Speaker 1: Absolutely. What a kind of you, speaking of the opposition will kind of funds do you know or are being reported that they do have in hand as we speak?

Speaker 4: So it hasn't been confirmed that adelson is behind the opposition. He's made statements in the past that he would support it. So I am so, yeah, no, I mean actual dollars and cents. Yeah. So I'm speculating that he's behind this and I've also heard rumors that it's kind of in the two and a half million dollar range is kind of what he's contributed. But again, I want to clarify that's just speculation at this point. We'll know more next month when the disclosures are released.

Speaker 1: Got it. Okay. But you're thinking that they have around two and a half million, is that right? Yeah. Okay. And then how does that compare with what, uh, what you guys are working with as we speak before we get to the website where people will go and be able to, to, to a funnel some funds your way.

Speaker 4: The yes on two campaign is, is about the same in terms of dollars. Yeah. Alright. And so what is the website? It is regulate marijuana and v.org.

Speaker 1: Okay. Regulate marijuana and v.org. Fair enough. Um, you know, we're, we're going to get one more update, uh, at least, uh, from you guys. but uh, obviously, you know, we uh, it's, it's a pretty close call right now. What, what do you guys have coming up? What's still in

Speaker 4: store? You know, if the opposition did just launch, what's the, what will be the latest from you? Will you know, what's, what's upcoming? There's a lot, you know, so right now is really when the campaign is starting to take off. And so there's a grassroots initiative to reach out to voters and through dispensary's disseminate information about question two and what it'll do. And, and almost as importantly, what it won't do, it won't take away medical patients rights, it won't replace the medical program that we have successfully running and operating today. And so there's a whole grassroots component of the campaign and there's, there's going to be, you know, a tv and online advertising components of the campaign that I think will be very effective. Again, focusing on, on facts, focusing on, dispelling some of the myths, focusing on learning the lessons from Colorado, you know, who have really paved the way for, um, the other three or four states that have legalized cannabis. And so I think we can, you know, share that information with the voting public and, and hope that, um, we put an end to this needless prohibition here in our state. Excellent. Alright. Website one more time. Regulate marijuana v.org. And on the,

Speaker 3: a soundtrack of your life. One track, one song for today could be the same song. Doesn't matter, but this will be the last question.

Speaker 4: I love the question set. That's great. Last time I mentioned, uh, the killers because they're from Nevada. they're great guys. But I think this time I'll have to go with, um, a coldplay. How about a adventure of a lifetime? Um, I had the opportunity to see coldplay with my daughter in New York, your home state a few weeks ago and had an amazing experience at their concert. so they've, they've, they're definitely on my playlist right now.

Speaker 3: Awesome. Andrew jolley from the source doing the work in Nevada. Thanks for the

Speaker 4: thank you, sir. Take care.

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Speaker 5: All right, so I walked into water brands. I'm here. I've got a white man in front of me. It happens to be John White. Lots of white medicine seems to be here. Thanks for having me very much. Appreciate it. Thank you for coming by. Yeah, you guys are a

Speaker 6: lizzie. You keep busy here, don't you? We keep very busy. Yes. The elves are really active everyday. Two shifts a day. How big is the business that it seems big from a distance, rIght? You know, in, in, in terms of the cannabis economy in Colorado and I guess in the nation we're pretty big, so we have 85 people. Uh, we sell into 425 stores across the state. We have opened an operation in Oregon and we're about to open one in Nevada as well and have licensing deals that are pending and a number of other states. So things are going great. So we are expanding as we go. Here we go. That's what we really want to do. Indeed. I didn't know what it was going to come that the, the won upon and they're less so hopefully I won't do that anymore. Well, what's the etymology?

Speaker 6: I would imagine marijuana brands, right? Or you go quick on the uptake lot of people. Yeah, I was thinking about it on the way over is that it's as simple as that. It is that simple. Right? We were looking for something nice and simple and easy to remember. And that we settled on that one. I got it. And uh, how long have we been doing this? We started six and a half years ago to spring of 2010. Okay. Alright. So that means that this is a, uh, after 10, 84, right? Correct. And uh, we, we've got the ogden memo on, on under our belts and so john says to himself, this is, this is, this could be legitimate, you know, you don't get a chance many times in your lifetime, but just start something new in an entirely new industry and uncharted territories and you know, spend your life savings and uh, you know, have lots of sleepless nights.

Speaker 6: So that's what we decided to do. Was it, so far it's working out. Yeah. It was jumping in with both feet is, did you do exactly that? Are pretty close. Yeah, you know, you start something up, it's pretty much 24 slash seven and doing everything yourself. So yeah, it was both feet would win. What is your business background that you noticed? The, uh, opportunity? I really do not come from anything related to this. I was a community development consultant for 25 years working in the field of economic development with communities all around the country. So I have a, uh, a lot of experience in business but not growing a company like this. So I had been looking for an opportunity similar to this. Didn't really dream that it would happen to come in this shape or form, but was happy to take a stab at it when it did.

Speaker 6: So you're not a cannabis guy. I'm a moderate occasional cannabis guy. Yes I am. But you're, you're not a, you know, a, this is not your life. This was not my life. This is now. Yes. Thank you for restating my question correctly. It's really fair. I mean, I, uh, I like to actually tell the story that I did not come to this as a, you know, a passionate crusader for cannabis. But I've become one as I've learned about the plant and what it can do for people and it's role in people's lives, so, and that's been very satisfying. I feel lucky that that's happened to me. So we're, we're, we're dancing around here and I want to keep, continue to dance and then we'll find our own path. But community development, I feel like I know what that is, but I, I probably don't. So, you know, cities and towns would hire me to come in and help them figure out how to improve their downtowns, how to attract more customers, how to attract business to their communities.

Speaker 6: I would help them put together plans to do that, find the money for them and help them do it. That's fascinating. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. That's a very specific thing. It was and it was. I got a chance to meet a lot of people in travel to lots of places. What was your favorite? Uh, uh, what is it, you don't call it a restoration, what do you call it? Oh, the. Just kind of the favorite project that I was able to work on time, probably working with, uh, the eastern half of Kentucky and coal country to put together a set of strategies to attract more tourists to come and enjoy the beautiful countryside there. That was a, a multiyear effort that has really panned out well. So that was pretty satisfying. Multiyear. And then what, what happened? So the Kentucky, I come to you and I'm a, I've got coal mining country and I need to sell it.

Speaker 6: Is that basically it? And then goes to work at, well you know what you do and a lot of these skills have have parlayed over into this work. What you do is work with dozens of communities. You hold lots of meetings, you get all the people involved to figure out what they want. You identify what it is they can sell to the world. You start working with the public relations industry and the tourism industry and the tourism, the tour people who provide tours and you just start selling what they have and then organizing what they have in the ground and it just gradually kind of. Greg has a crescendo to it. Eventually you're creating jobs and small businesses and people's lives are a little better. Yeah, I love it. I, this is a great job. Why would you, why would you ever leave this? Because I was traveling like 85 percent of the ta and this allows me to stay home, come and see the same great set of faces that are, that work for one every day and just have a slightly more saner life.

Speaker 6: Alright, it was there a moment of enlightenment. Was there a moment in time when you said, wait a second, instead of traveling 85 percent of the time, we've got these things in order here. Let's do this. Was there a moment in time or it was just a gradual kind of, uh, uh, understanding and occurrence, you know, it was talking to an associate who said he had started a small cannabis business and we said, well, that's a good one to go after. Let's just do this. So I think everything was just lined up about right. You know, the uh, recession was well, was well in place, so there were lots of opportunities to think of doing something new. You're a guy that creates business in any geography. And so what I have noticed, um, in our cannabis community is that without the recession, without economic downturn that we had, we definitely would not have had or we wouldn't have the level of talent that we have.

Speaker 6: So a lot of guys and gals, we're looking around saying, well, what I'm doing right now isn't working, you know, for you it was simply traveled. For them it was, my industry is crumbling. Right? Um, how much do you think about that? I hadn't thought about it, but I think you're onto something very wise. Yeah, I think you're right. I think you're right. and certainly for me, you know, a chunk of my business was based on government programs. The recession definitely hit those. And so I was also looking for new opportunities. Of course. Yeah, you got to book there, seth, you've got to book, got a book. I mean it's just a confluence of all of these events because you've got the downturn coupled with a new administration coming in that's going to allow for this type of thing to occur. You know, you've got the talent coming into the industry, you've got the right state with the right regulations in order.

Speaker 6: We have a medical market that is regulated. Something that Washington state did not have a. And then here we go with, uh, with adult use. That's very good. And a lot of available real estate at the time. There you go. Yeah, the labor pool, it was available. Amazing. I like it. I like what I'm like. All I'm doing is repeating what has happened. But, uh, but speaking of repeating what has happened, let's go all the way back. Are you a Colorado guy originally from New York? Oh yeah. this is why I already like you. Yeah, that's it. And how can you not? But We're, we're, uh, where are you from? An. From an I'm in upstate guy. Okay. Where a oneonta. Okay. All right. I went to ithaca college. Okay. So as you know, cornell. Oh. So there you go. There you go. Right. Did you like a cornell?

Speaker 6: I mean, I like the sunshine of Colorado a whole lot better than the other. Yeah, because it's cold and cornell in a different way. Wet and theory and. Yeah. Yeah. What, how is the climate different here? It's just like nicer. It's still cold, but it's just nice. Well you're not supposed to tell anyone but it's not that cold here. No, it's much warmer and we have 300 days of sunshine versus 300 days of clouds. There you go. These are the things. Yeah. And then did you study what you went into at cornell? Uh, partially? Yeah. And then uh, in Massachusetts, lived there for quite a while now. Where? In Massachusetts? Amherst. okay. Doing what? Are you doing some of that little grad school and then the planning stuff? Yeah. All right, and then when did you find love? Uh, end of college and a college.

Speaker 6: All right. And, uh, was nancy? That was nancy? Yes. That was nancy and she was at cornell as well or not? Yes, she went. Okay. What was she studying at the time? What was she studying? She was going to be a social worker, I think. Yah. Okay. And then off we went to Massachusetts first and then, uh, were you just in it for what? Twenty years? Just doing, just doing the slog in the geographies where you go. So Kentucky, what stops where there along the way? Oh my god, you know, all of new england, Tennessee, Minnesota, Idaho, California, Oregon, Alaska, I don't know. Twenty five, 30 states, something like that. How do you not, um, make a geography? Um, you know, just a rash generalization. In other words, if I think about Colorado, uh, I think about a specific things. If I think about California, I think about specific things.

Speaker 6: I would probably be very bad at the job that you were doing because you have to kind of bring out what actually is there as opposed to what people think of it. This is one of the reasons why I stopped people on the streets of New York city and give directions every time because people's perception is that we wouldn't do that, but we do, lord. At least I do. So how do you do that? How do you take the rash generalization out and, and you know, give it a face and a name? Yeah, I think you find the essence of geography and the essence of culture and uh, let people know about it were, what would your, how would you study it? Would you just go into a market and you need a bunch of meals? talked to lots of people, eat a lot, eat a lot of greasy food and uh, you know, just travel around and get a feel for the place.

Speaker 6: Just as if you, seth, we're going to eastern Kentucky exploring says jack kerouac. They're a little bit a lot of it. Yeah. Is that what it felt like? Yeah, sure. Did you ever read the on the road that's required reading for humans? I think exactly. They know that there was a lot of, that, there was a lot of just, uh, exploring and discovering and then it about what will translate to other people and give them enjoyment. all right, so favorite project was Kentucky and then we'll stop after you tell me your favorite geography that you visit. Favorite place to go to that? Yeah. At what? That you happened upon? Yeah, that would have to be Alaska kenai peninsula. Gorgeous, wild, beautiful. Uh, for people that have. I've been to Alaska and I can't describe it because any picture that I show you does not do it justice.

Speaker 6: How do you describe Alaska to people? It is the stereotypes of mountains and oceans that have not been worn down or touched by people. It's just all sharp and pristine and green and fresh. It's amazing. It really is. I have never, I've been to, I've been all around the world. I've never seen anything like that, you know? Uh, so I agree. Uh, and I'll add a as far as internationally I'll add to Alaska, Iceland, I'll bet. And New Zealand. Yes. Those two are kind of in the same. They're the big three. The big three. Just like what the, I've just never, my eyes have never seen this type of thing as far as nature is concerned. All right. So then when did you find Colorado? Twenty years ago? Yeah. I just moved on a whim, just, just, just came here to boulder to boulder. That's right. Yep. Just moved it.

Speaker 6: That's it. And a heck of it. Yup. With job or without it. Uh, my job was geographically free. Uh, nancy recently went through a corporate restructuring and so she was looking for something new and I'm here. We were, you're the first mobile office guy. I know. I was a lone eagle way before. It was popular thing before, but I would imagine before laptops even, right? Yes. although it had a small mac that was fairly mobile. Okay. There's not a laptop here? No, it had the handle, the handle. I still have the kids. Do I have the case? Oh my god. That's fantastic. I mean, that's now cultural, uh, you know, it's worth a lot. Iconography. exactly. All right, so you're here in Colorado, so thank goodness that you wound up here for the, you know, the next chapter. Um, and, and then you guys, you know, kind of come together and realize that there, there is something to be done here.

Speaker 6: Um, why, uh, this path, why not open a dispensary? Why not, you know, something else. Never wanted to do retail. So just take that off. The board wanted to grow something that we could leverage a, wanted to grow something with a company culture, um, wanted something with a fairly low barrier to entry. Both know how to cook. So all of those things came together and we took a stab at this piece. I got it. What, what, uh, what do you bring to the kitchen? What kind of cook are you? A I. Well, you know, I'm a, I'm a more of a baker, so good at doing things the same way over and over, which is a very good thing when you have a production kitchen that, you know, yeah, pumps out tens of thousands of units every week. Exactly. Especially when we need everything to have the same dosage, you know, dee, that comes in handy.

Speaker 6: So, so it was nancy, uh, more of a, uh, you know, not a baker or were you both make? No, She's a good cook, but you know, nancy has her mba, you know, brilliant business mind. So, you know, she definitely, there's a whole set of things that she brings to the table that have been invaluable for sure. Okay. Alright. So the first recipe was first recipe was a, a hard candy. Okay. Along with a, uh, this was very good. Seth. It's hard to dose and produce now along with a candied nut mix with a jamaican set of spices to it. yes, that sounds good. Right? But doesn't meet today's standards for homogeneity and all that stuff, but it was very good because you also have to stamp that. That's a stackable product and stamping every single nut. It's just not gonna happen. That's right. Let's take this a tangent for a second and then we'll come back to the path.

Speaker 6: I'm the stamping, the packaging, the, my goodness man. What you must have been through over the past few years. Well, I mean, what's your take on it? I'll ask you that big broad question. I have two opinions and two perspectives on it. So coming from the background of working with the public sector, I totally get the need to protect public safety. We are totally on board with protecting children. I understand how government works and I would say that 99 point nine percent of I've worked with and the regulatory agencies all has their heart in the right place and they're headed in the right direction and it's a new industry and frankly none of us know what we're doing. And so everyone's taken a stab at it and often stabs have been taken in the wrong direction and it has created huge hernias and headaches. Okay. All right. So that's, uh, that's fairly straightforward.

Speaker 6: You know, this is, I get why we have to do it. I get, you know, that this is a new industry. I get that. Not everybody's perfect, I think is what you said. Something like that. Everybody's heart, you know, isn't there, isn't the right place. Exactly. um, when, when do we pass the line of. I don't know if we need that though. What do you have thoughts on that? You know, I think it's a lot like a lot of politics, you know, you come, you go this way, the pendulum swings back and try something and see how it works. I will say that, you know, I think a lot of the recent regulatory moves have pushed the cannabis center. Do you become more mature? You get more organized? Certainly to be able to voice our concerns in a more coherent, mature way. And that's great.

Speaker 6: That's what needs to happen in all industries. So, you know, to a certain degree, I guess we can, we can thank, uh, the regulatory agencies for helping the cannabis industry to get more organized and grow up. All right, so, so, uh, so here we are all, all grown up I guess, right? What's teenagers anyway? Yeah, no, exactly. No, it's, we're definitely not all grown up, but we're, we're, we're getting there. What do you see as, as, as role, what's important to you? Well, you know, I think seth, one of the things that we're trying to do is, is not just respond to what's being required to have a required of us right now, but to look down the road a little bit. So for example, we have invested a lot of money and people and in procedures and tools and software to start to move toward good manufacturing practices.

Speaker 6: Gmp is, it's referred to in the rest of the industrial world. Sure. Any product that you eat or consume typically has been produced under gmp standards, fda standards, usta, osha, et cetera, et cetera. So we are setting up a manufacturing operation that is anticipating the day when all of those requirements will come. And along the way it is allowing us to make products that are way more standardized, way more safe. uh, we are able to track practically every molecule of the that goes into our products and that I think that is really helping our customers trust us a lot more. Yeah. Well, it's just consistency. Hey, consistencies, easy to trust no matter what the relationship. I think there you go. Well said. Um, that's what, uh, that's my girlfriend tells me all the time. So the jokes are, are, are never that great, but it's the consistency that you appreciate her expectations at least or not.

Speaker 6: yeah. I want to kind of come back to the, we were talking about this, a nut cluster. Was it that we was the first candy in the candy nuts, candied nuts. Um, well, you know, where did you go from that? In other words, it's 2010. You've got a couple of recipes. You, you're, you're, you know, were, were you going to dispensary's how were you getting product to market? Yeah, we were going to dispensary's asking them to put this stuff on the shelves and we experimented with dozens of different products, you know, everything every baked good you could possibly imagine candies. Um, uh, at one point we made beef jerky, I mean it was all over the board, bubblegum a and every one of those we learned something about what's effective for folks, uh, what's discreet, uh, what works for certain things and not for other things.

Speaker 6: What has good shelf life, what dispensary's liked to sell. So I mean, it's been a very fun ride to experiment with putting cannabis oil and almost anything you can imagine and then finding out what actually works for people. Yeah. No, I, I need to ask about the beef jerky because I've been to many dispensaries and I don't remember seeing beef jerky. it was not legal now. And uh, we only produced it for a short period of time because it's so messy and disgusting. Okay. So it's messy and disgusting. That's a on based on the downside. Why is it illegal? Uh, at this point in Colorado, no dairy or meat products can be sold just due to health and safety concerns with the, uh, uh, the type of facilities that dispensary's are, they're not really supermarkets that are set up to handle food products like that or, or the.

Speaker 6: TheRe's a rabbi that's in charge of the med now, you know, maybe, maybe that's it. It could be, it could be. It's probably not. There's no kosher regs though. So we're waiting on that. We got a couple oF kosher. Uh, we got a kosher guy in New York. Yes, I know, I heard. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So here we come. Um, so you, you really did, you're talking about it as though it was a, uh, as a big experiment, you know. Hey, alrIght, well we'll try this, we'll try that, we'll try this, we'll try that. Um, what started, when did you notice what product, what skew, if you will started to kind of have traction and where our first product that had traction, which we still sell is a chocolate role. Um, so it's not a candy bar that can melt as easily. It has a little bit more mobility to it and more shelf life to it.

Speaker 6: I'm kind of like a tasty pudsey role, brownie all made from scratch. By the way. One of the things we're very proud of is we have like a phd food chemist on staff and a mechanical engineer on staff. We are quality control person used to work at nasa and quality control. So we have a lot of bright, interesting people who help put all these programs together. And so our stuff is crafted very carefully. Gummies are, are huge seller right now. Uh, we make those in a whole variety of flavors, class specific gummies. Um, and I think that meshes well with just a broad, broad trend in us society is gummies are one of the prime delivery mechanisms for vitamins increasingly for various types of medicine. So people find it at both really tasty and also just a convenient way to, to dos. Yeah, no, that, uh, brings up an interesting thing because, uh, there are jurisdictions and geographies that are now frowning upon gummies while I go to walgreens and cvs and there's just everything that I used to buy is now a gummy.

Speaker 6: Thank you for noticing that irony. Uh, what, what are your thoughts on that? Obviously there those things don't make sense. Those things don't add up. Yeah, I think the regulatory agencies will see the light and a lot of it depends on how you present the product. So, uh, do we make gummy bears? No, we don't. We make gummies that are inconsistent geographic shapes that are very clearly stamped and you know, that is way better than what is happening in most jurisdictions. And I think once those regulatory agencies see examples of our products, they're going to say, you know what, this is really more of a medicine than it is a candy. So we'll, I think we'll be fine. Exactly. This is when I always like to bring up a tide pods and I do it by brand and by name, um, because I have a five year old niece and a two and a half year old nephew.

Speaker 6: And those things look really fun and great and tasty. Yeah, that's my only comment. I just like to bring it up often because I can just get it. Go get those right now. I know, I know. I can just open the bag. Yeah, I know. That's why we from almost day one and have used child resistant packaging. I'm all the way down the line. We are totally compliant on that. And you know this morning I heard the next edition of the state of colorado's educational program for teenagers and kids around marijuana and that money is being spent so well kind of got off to a rough start but now they've got it dialed in and I think they really are sending a message to kids that they're going to hear. They're educatIng parents right along, read at the same time. And that's what we have to do with, you know, you could talk about beer and cigarettes and all the rest of it.

Speaker 6: And I think actually the state of colorado's doing a great job in showing how we should educate children about what they put in their bodies and how they take care of themselves. You just heard it this morning. I don't want to put you on the spot, but what do you remember specifically as far as messaging? You know, start low, go slow. I know that one. What else do we have? Well, the new tagline is good to know. And so the idea is a low key presentation of the facts around marijuana. It's effects on kids' brains. The fact that they really need to wait until they're at least 21 before they start to think of this as something they should use recreationally at all. Right? Um, and they're also educating parents to just, you know, be open about this, talk about it, here's the facts, go to our website, get informed so that you can really talk about this in an educated way with your kids without being too much of a nag.

Speaker 6: No. So, so sensible and you know, that is, we get to see the revenue reports now the billions of dollars of revenue coming in and the tax dollars from that is $7,000,000 from marijuana money were spent on this educational program. And it also meshes nicely with a report that just came out of the department of public health showing that teen use has not increased at all since legalization. I think all over and all. We're doing a really good job. Absolutely. I, I, Colorado is a, is really in so many ways doing everything a well. Most things very, very well. Um, but you just put your finger on it. I mean, you were a teenager. I was a teenager. I. What I wanted to do was the illegal things. I didn't want to do the legal things, you know, it's easy. Like if I don't need to make a big deal of doing the legal things, you know, do you want to have a catch?

Speaker 6: Sure. do you want to drink beer? That's much more attractive, you know, you know, I think that is true. I know what you're getting at. But I think that whole thing is worse under prohibition. So whether it was prohibition of booze or prohibition of marijuana, you know, I think we're just lowering the bar and opening up common sense, common sense conversations to have kids and I think the data is showing that, you know, kids are being prudent to. Yeah. Well that's the whole. I mean, to your point, you've said what I was saying much better in that if we eliminate prohibition, then there's nothing to, you know, there's no bright shiny object, then we can just all kind of continue as we were with what makes sense and what doesn't make sense. You know? Uh, we can be responsible individuals and think about what's best for our health.

Speaker 6: Exactly. It's a novel ideas. So you, you bring up health, you bring up wellness. You talked about medicine earlier. What was the moment now, you know, we, we just talked through the skews kind of happening. You kind of found your way with the product assortment and sales, uh, happening and eliminating beef jerky, etc. Uh, when was the cannabis as medicine epiphany for you? You know, I think it started very, very early seth, when, um, people would come to the stores and fInd out that our dosing was consistent and they could use our products in a very steady way. Are hard candies, for example, at five milligrams have been used by just about every type of person with a medical condition you can think of. And really from day one we started hearing from people, oh my god, I know what's in this. I can trust this.

Speaker 6: I'm using it in a steady way to help with my conditions. So, uh, so that was a big part of it. Just hearing from customers how big of a change was adult use? Uh, from 2010 to 2014. Here we go. Wow. How did that change the shape of the, uh, of the company? Well, it was, you know, a tripling of revenues, I would say conservatively, however, I do want to plug something important which we have stayed very faithful to the medical community. So a large portIon of the stories that we serve are the medical stores. We have not dropped them at all. We continue to innovate products and, and come out and serve those folks. So anyway, that's been very satIsfying and we've also gotten very good customer and dispensary feedback for that. And um, and in many ways the rec market has ended up being a broader medical market to 'em.

Speaker 6: I'm not dismissing the enjoyability or people's rights to recreate with cannabis. I think that's fabulous. Um, but lots of people are not getting a red card there instead hearing from their 80 year old grandmother that they're sleeping better by taking a bit of cannabis at night. And so they go into a store and they get some of our jewels or gummies or extended release capsules and they're finding that their wonderful products to help enhance their lives. It is a amazing. I still haven't, uh, experienced cannabis as medicine for myself. Um, which is great because I guess some at least healthy and unhealthy and exactly, exactly. But, uh, two things happened. I went into one of the dispensary's here and uh, a girl came up to one of the dispensary owners and uh, this was in 2014. And uh, the dispensary owner said, oh, I know that you tried this new strain of flower happen to be flower a, how's that going for you?

Speaker 6: She said, oh, it's great. I haven't had a seizure in seven days. And that was, that happened in my real life, so that I had not, that had not happened, you know, now a flash forward, we've got a medical in New York medical program, uh, the tightfisted program that it is, is still able to help my buddy with crones who has now for the past six weeks has been taking it and saying that it has changed his entire life. just the, you know, his quality of life. Um, so I mean those two were pretty close. and it is, it's remarkable. It's amazing. And you know, or are you stiLl stunned every day or you know. Oh, I still almost get weepy when I hear those stories. Yeah, truly, truly. Because, um, I think that one of the things that drives me crazy is that do the prohibition on cannabis and therefore the prohibition on research, we don't have the evidence that many agencies and individuals need or say they need in order to move forward incrementally and yet just like you were surrounded by people who are finding benefits from this and telling very emotional compelling stories.

Speaker 6: And uh, I don't know how we do a better job at getting those stories out. I guess that's where we turn to set. Yeah, there we go. Exactly. Send me your patients. Uh, without question. All right. so, um, so there's cannabis as medicine. I want it to stay there for a little bit. There's a want brands with your, with your product skews and uh, and, and to sort bence, uh, there's the tripling of growth in, in 2014. Now, you know, we've had two years, hence, um, you mentioned in the beginning that you're starting to expand outside of Colorado to Oregon to Nevada. Um, taLk about growth as we speak. Yeah, sure. Well, I think I'm tying back to your, to your question about the introduction of the rec market. Uh, and this also connects with what you're asking. The rec market boomed and the rest of the world started to look more carefully at Colorado.

Speaker 6: And so for example, because of that, we were approached by now have a wonderful partnership with an israeli pharmaceutical firm that makes an extended release formulation and is in clinical trials right now and the benefits of cannabis for cancer patients and is doing very interesting research on the impacts of cannabis oil and various types of cancers. So people are coming here seeking partners, seeking an active market where they can try their products and see how people react to them. And so because of that, we've been very fortunate and successful in finding some wonderful partners in Oregon, in Nevada. we've recently signed deals for a Illinois on the verge and Massachusetts, Maryland, a number of other states, so the success of our experiment here is really capturing the attention of people in other states where they know they've not done it before, so they might as well come here and find some good folks to work with.

Speaker 6: Yeah. You mentioned Nevada and Massachusetts without talking about politics. Those are two states that do have ballot initiatives. How closely do you kind of keep in touch with what's going on? Um, how much of this is 68 percent in Nevada today? Okay. All right. So know generally speaking, we keep an eye on for sure that I see. Is it 68 percent today? It's in the high sixties. Is it really better than it was a. That is not what I'm hearing from Massachusetts. Do you know I was talking about Nevada? No. I know we met with some folks the other day. They said they have a little bit of an advantage at this point, like 55 or something like that. Yeah. So that's, that's a little too close for comfort for me. so obviously you're paying attention to, to how it's polling, um, as, as a business, you know, how do you gauge these things as they go because no matter what it's going to take awhile for the, you know, adult use markets to get off the ground.

Speaker 6: Um, so if we were not patient before we started this business, we are now. So yeah, so a would be great if those initiatives pass, but we know if not this year it'll be in the future. And so we just have to sit tight and we'll take it as it comes. So I think in the first 100 episodes of this podcast, um, many people said that they couldn't believe the pace of the industry and that still is true to a point, but now I've had one or two people tell me that it's, it's a little slow going as far as, you know, the industry growth because of now new states coming online. Now that we're, you know, Colorado is Colorado, Oregon is Oregon. Washington is doing whatever's washington's going to do. California's coming online. Really, you know, Massachusetts. Nevada, is it, is it, has the industry slowed down to a regular pace in some ways?

Speaker 6: No, not really. Not really, it's just the, the, the type of change is the, the, the change is different. okay. How do you mean? So, um, I don't know, let's say, um, when things got started, there were 600 totally independent, totally iconoclastic, rogue little dispensary's out there. Absolutely. And now we probably have a good collection of 10 dispensary groups, all consisting of five to 20 stores that are centrally managed. Um, and so for our business, initially we had to deal with all the wonderful rogues that were out there and serve 500 different crazy masters and now the number of masters is getting smaller. They have a increasingly more consistent requirements and policies and, and that's all fine. And so we're shifting with that. Um, but that combined with the ever changing regulations around packaging and transportation and dosing and et cetera, et cetera means you've got an awful lot of balls in the air at any one time.

Speaker 6: Right? Um, and it's interesting, we have about 24,000 square feet across the street in our, in our facility when we first started there, we had 600 square feet. Never imagined we'd be able to use all that space, but we're expanding out and finishing every bit of that interprofessional class manufacturing space because at this point we need to mechanize, we need to have a full r and d kitchen. We have a full quality control department that goes in and examines everything and all of that requires space and talented people. And uh, so managing change from within the manufacturing operation in order to provide good service has just been a real challenge and continues to be. So every day it hasn't really slowed down. Amazing. Six hundred square feet to 24,000 squares. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Twenty 4,000 square feet. It's hard to believe we're filling all that space, but you know, we need so much of it in order to make our products and the way we like to make them.

Speaker 6: So for example, we have a fairly large kitchen that has a lot of cooks in at any one time because every product is handcrafted and mixed. We don't buy premade candies and spray something on them. Everything is made from scratch all the way through and you know, our customers really, you know, applaud us for the taste and the consistency that comes from that. You know, our testing department is, is pretty significant. We've been from day one testing every bit of our tincture and products to make sure that they were pinpoint inaccuracy all the way through. As I mentioned before, we have a, a professional director of operations with extensive experience in quality control and certified general good manufacturing practices. And we actually do have a nasa astrophysicists. This is the works. We got to find out about this person. What have to talk to liz. How did you get liz?

Speaker 6: How did you get the nasa person? You know, there has been this migration to Colorado of people who wanted to work in the cannabis industry. That's awesome. And she came straight out of the, uh, the huntsville nasa facility. Uh, astro astrophysicist degree, worked in quality control there and, and wanted to apply it to the cannabis industry. I love it. We're so fortunate. It's really wonderful. I'm so every aspect, every department is getting dialed in and all of that requires extensive safety equipment and protocols and everything to really set a standard for how a business like this should be run. And I will say, I think one of the things that is drawing out of state partners to us is that when they come here, they see that they're going to be licensing and manufacturing technique that really is far beyond what's happening in the rest of the industry.

Speaker 6: We're not talking about folks that are just making something on a home kitchen and putting into a knapsack and taken it down the street is, this is the real deal. fair enough. I have three final questions, but, uh, I gotta ask the, the uh, what I see as the, uh, the elephant in the room, the, I've got john weidman, I've got Nancy White men. It's the same last name. And when I came in I said, well, what's the relationship and what did you say? I said, we used to be married and now we're business partners and life is good. So tell us as much as you can tell us about how, because that is very unique. It is. You know what I mean? It is unusual for, for, I mean this take us through from your perspective how this, uh, you know, okay, well this isn't going to work but this still should.

Speaker 6: Well, you know, life change and the relationships change. But uh, nancy and I have a very good friendship and we worked together well as business people and it's all working fine. You know, what else to say? Well, that's fair. And I think maybe when I am in a relationship now as a 40 year old, I am a different person than when I was in a relationship as a 25 year old. And so, uh, I could not fathom what you're talking about at 25, but at 40 I could kind of see how that probably could happen. You know, the idea is to good business people, why would we, why would we bother this with that if we don't have to. And that's enoUgh of that we have kids. I mean, yeah, it's uh, it's unusual, but it's working. So bless us. Exactly the 21st century. All right, so you might have already answered this.

Speaker 6: Um, which, uh, well, you might've already answered the first question. I'm gonna ask you the final three questions. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you that. Okay. So what has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life and what has most surprised you? Or I'm sorry, on the soundtrack of your life named one track, one song that's got to be on there. That's either the toughest one or the easiest one. First things first though, what has most surprised you in cannabis? And that's the question that you might have already answered.

Speaker 6: I think what has surprised me most is the organic mouth to mouth a neighbor to neighbor, um, way that the benefits of cannabis have are how it's growing. It's not mouth to mouth resuscitation. Let's start at the thing that I said, word of mouth, word of mouth is the way that the benefits of cannabis had just been spreading via word of mouth. Yeah. We had a great moment when one of our couriers, I went to a dispensary in a small mountain town and a and a senior citizen bus pulled up and about 20, you know, octogenarians all toddled off the bus, came In and made their purchases and then got back on their bus and went back to the senior center. And uh, the guy said, you know, agnes came in, had some problems with arthritis and bought some product. It worked. She went back and told all her mahjong buddies and they all come down to the store and I just see that every day.

Speaker 6: Yeah. Via conversations and, and uh, and here inherent word of mouth. It's pretty unbelievable. I, uh, have been in since 2013 and when I used to tell people that I was doing work in the cannabis industry, it was met with that were outside of the cannabis industry. It was met with laughter. Just laughter, just like, oh, that's adorable. what Colorado in Washington are doing? That's hilarious. Um, and then now it's, oh, tell me more. you know, now it's my friend actually getting medicine. Now it's, you know, um, me telling my dad to listen to the suit tailor episode of how she's gone from 15 pills in her fist to five pills in her fist trying to get down to three. That's right. Um, so what are Your thoughts on where we are on the path here? It's still early days. We saId, you know, maybe even adolescent, but it's amazing how far we've come a already, isn't it?

Speaker 6: It really is. And you know, I think after november when more states legalize or go medical, I mean the, the, the snowball is well on its way. It's not going to melt at this point. It's just a matter of how big it's going get and how quick we get to the bottom of the hill and everything's legalized. Although I will throw in my one little thought on state by state legalization. I, I, you know, I'm, I'm a bit of a state rights guy and I think it is a wonderful thing that we've seen here in this country with states crafting their own programs to fit what they want. Sure. And so, you know, I'm not a big, I'm not anxious to see, you know, a big federal program. I think it's, it's wonderful and creative the way all these states have just kind of put their own gigs together. Absolutely. And we can watch a big federal program right up north. We can just, you know, we can enjoy both. That's true. That's right. What has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 6: I have been most surprised at the ability of myself and the people I love to change and come through adversity and, you know, fine, wonderful stuff. On the other side of that, we're very resilient little species. It's a, it is pretty amazing, right? I, I like to, uh, I think of it as getting a hit in the face and just getting up again. I also have a, a phrase that fits this, which is, um, sometimes to continue on the path of least resistance you have to run through wall. So that's good. That's good. Yeah. That's good. Yeah, that's good. And uh, I mean, you know, it's true too, on the soundtrack of your life. One track, one song that's got to be on there. it's got to be ghillean welsh revelator. Okay. And that's, is that bluegrass? It is alt bluegrass. Bluegrass. And I learned that you now what?

Speaker 6: Tell tell us about, You are a musician of sorts. Sorts? Yes. Yes. On the side. Yeah. Little guitar and banjo saying band for many years. So yeah. What was the name of the band? A buffalo five five-piece buffalo five piece. Alright, I like it to jeff. Stand up bass. of course. You did of course have a fiddle. we had a no fiddle and the banjo. Amanda guitar, mondo being mandolin of course. So you're, you're okay with david grisman? I'm quite okay with david. You're okay with bill monroe? I am Christina Lee. Quite quite okay with him. Yes. And even steve. Uh, steve martin these days, right on his mantra. That's right. How is steve martin as a musician from a musician's perspective in bluegrass? Excellent musician, izzy. In fact, it's annoying that he's so talented in so many respects, guys like that. It's just as good on a banjo as he is doing standup. Yeah. well, here's the steve martin. There you go. John. Thank you so much for your time. Keep fighting the fight. Keep expanding and we'll check in with you down the line. Thank you for doing what you're doing, seth. I appreciate it. And there you have john whiteman

Speaker 2: did not know that he was a musician before we sat down, but uh, hey, that's good information. Good information. Also from andrew jolley out of Nevada, trying to get as much as we can from each of those states, more coming from a valid initiatives across the nation. So stay tuned and to that end, thank you so much for listening. Very much. Appreciate it.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.