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Ep.340: Roger Volodarsky

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.340: Roger Volodarsky

Ep.340: Roger Volodarsky

Roger Volodarsky joins us and discusses the nuances of the New York vs. California markets. Going back, Roger was an avid fan of the plant but his parents didn’t differentiate between cannabis and any other substance, with the exception of alcohol. For them emigrating from the old Soviet block alcohol was just fine, where as cannabis was certainly not. Roger’s use made them feel as though they failed as parents. Growing up in New York didn’t help as the state had no legal medical cannabis framework in the 90’s so the plant was essentially just as stigmatized as it was in “Refer Madness.” And it hasn’t necessarily gotten too much better as evidenced by our current medical program which is why Roger has moved on to Los Angeles where the cannabis culture is a bit richer.

Transcript:

Speaker 2: Roger Volodarsky. Roger Volodarski joins us in, discusses the nuances of the New York versus California markets going back. Roger was an avid fan of the plant, but his parents didn't differentiate between cannabis in any other substance with the exception of alcohol for that member granting from the old Soviet bloc. Alcohol was just fine, whereas cannabis was certainly not roger's use made them feel as though they failed. As parents growing up in New York didn't help as the state had no legal medical cannabis framework in the nineties, so the plant was essentially just a stigmatized as it was in reefer madness and it hasn't necessarily gotten to much better as evidenced by our current medical program, which is why Roger is moved on to Los Angeles where the cannabis culture is a bit. Richard, welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social about the head mechanic economy. That's two ends and the word economy. Roger Vola. Darcy. Okay, so that means that you. You're

Speaker 1: not necessarily of Polish descent. Yes, correct. All right. You. You might be of Russian descent or Ukrainian or. Correct. All. Well, how close am I? Uh, my, both of my parents emigrated from a Odessa in Ukraine. Look. Oh my goodness. So Russian speak very poor Russian speaker, but speak a little bit of Russian that they passed along to me. Okay, good. Yes, not very many people know about the I and the why they, I in the white. Well, my girlfriend is Polish as frequent listeners are a begrudgingly aware of, but uh, so that's, that's the one thing, but the Ukrainian thing, I don't remember where I picked that up, but it's, I guess it's because it's a distinction because otherwise it's going to be a Polish last name. Yeah. Yeah. I don't think that rule has failed me once yet. Roi and I usually know where you're

Speaker 4: from. Thirty years ago. I think it was, I think 30 years ago is all Russian. I'm pretty sure it meant to you at the time we changed. Is that why they came here? Yeah. Well there were Russian Jews as far as I know. Um, Russia wasn't very friendly to the Jewish people they had and didn't really consider them Russian citizens so much. Like everyone else in Brighton beach here in Brooklyn decided there was a better place and they came here and built one. When was it roughly? My parents came in. They were pretty young. They're both in their teenage years, so that would put it around 78, 79. Their choice necessarily. They came with their grandparents or the mission through Israel. I think we over here through Israel. That was the route, right? I think it was like in Israel and some went through Italy and are used to know more about it, but I've, I forgot and that's fine. That's fine. There'll be in your Brighton beach memoirs, I would imagine. Yes. Brighton beach memoirs coming soon. Exactly.

Speaker 1: So, uh, Roger, you know, who doesn't make a vape pen is where I think we have to begin, you know, there's so many out there. So I felt it necessary to sit down and talk with you and understand kind of the marketplace from your perspective and, and just maybe some of the nuances about what you're doing and what we should be looking for as consumers of vape pens, et cetera.

Speaker 4: Sure. So I have an answer to your question that this is the first time I get to say this and I'm kind of proud. Puffco doesn't make a vape pen vaporizer, so that is actually alluding to our new device and our, our vape pens are pretty discussed this thing because we don't use in our Puffco plus our flagship model. We don't use any coils. Wait, so you said vape pen? Oh, well I haven't gotten to this. You do make a vape pen so far? You make something in the shape of a vape pen. I say that others feel bad calling a vape pen because it operates so much like a conventional dab rig. Our next product is actually not in the shape of a pen, but it is a vaporizer. Is this it right here? No one can say fantastic, but no one considers. It's in a case that I would say is a like a larger than the biggest oldest cell phone that you've ever seen, but not much larger than that.

Speaker 2: Roger Volodarsky. Roger Volodarski joins us in, discusses the nuances of the New York versus California markets going back. Roger was an avid fan of the plant, but his parents didn't differentiate between cannabis in any other substance with the exception of alcohol for that member granting from the old Soviet bloc. Alcohol was just fine, whereas cannabis was certainly not roger's use made them feel as though they failed. As parents growing up in New York didn't help as the state had no legal medical cannabis framework in the nineties, so the plant was essentially just a stigmatized as it was in reefer madness and it hasn't necessarily gotten to much better as evidenced by our current medical program, which is why Roger is moved on to Los Angeles where the cannabis culture is a bit. Richard, welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Check us out on social about the head mechanic economy. That's two ends and the word economy. Roger Vola. Darcy. Okay, so that means that you. You're

Speaker 1: not necessarily of Polish descent. Yes, correct. All right. You. You might be of Russian descent or Ukrainian or. Correct. All. Well, how close am I? Uh, my, both of my parents emigrated from a Odessa in Ukraine. Look. Oh my goodness. So Russian speak very poor Russian speaker, but speak a little bit of Russian that they passed along to me. Okay, good. Yes, not very many people know about the I and the why they, I in the white. Well, my girlfriend is Polish as frequent listeners are a begrudgingly aware of, but uh, so that's, that's the one thing, but the Ukrainian thing, I don't remember where I picked that up, but it's, I guess it's because it's a distinction because otherwise it's going to be a Polish last name. Yeah. Yeah. I don't think that rule has failed me once yet. Roi and I usually know where you're

Speaker 4: from. Thirty years ago. I think it was, I think 30 years ago is all Russian. I'm pretty sure it meant to you at the time we changed. Is that why they came here? Yeah. Well there were Russian Jews as far as I know. Um, Russia wasn't very friendly to the Jewish people they had and didn't really consider them Russian citizens so much. Like everyone else in Brighton beach here in Brooklyn decided there was a better place and they came here and built one. When was it roughly? My parents came in. They were pretty young. They're both in their teenage years, so that would put it around 78, 79. Their choice necessarily. They came with their grandparents or the mission through Israel. I think we over here through Israel. That was the route, right? I think it was like in Israel and some went through Italy and are used to know more about it, but I've, I forgot and that's fine. That's fine. There'll be in your Brighton beach memoirs, I would imagine. Yes. Brighton beach memoirs coming soon. Exactly.

Speaker 1: So, uh, Roger, you know, who doesn't make a vape pen is where I think we have to begin, you know, there's so many out there. So I felt it necessary to sit down and talk with you and understand kind of the marketplace from your perspective and, and just maybe some of the nuances about what you're doing and what we should be looking for as consumers of vape pens, et cetera.

Speaker 4: Sure. So I have an answer to your question that this is the first time I get to say this and I'm kind of proud. Puffco doesn't make a vape pen vaporizer, so that is actually alluding to our new device and our, our vape pens are pretty discussed this thing because we don't use in our Puffco plus our flagship model. We don't use any coils. Wait, so you said vape pen? Oh, well I haven't gotten to this. You do make a vape pen so far? You make something in the shape of a vape pen. I say that others feel bad calling a vape pen because it operates so much like a conventional dab rig. Our next product is actually not in the shape of a pen, but it is a vaporizer. Is this it right here? No one can say fantastic, but no one considers. It's in a case that I would say is a like a larger than the biggest oldest cell phone that you've ever seen, but not much larger than that.

Speaker 4: You know what, that is very accurate. It is about the size. The case is about the size of an eighties cell phone. So this is, this looks like a mini vaporizer. Um, it's the biggest product we've ever made, but yeah, this is the first ever smart rig. Um, it's a concentrate vaporizer that does the entire learning curve that's associated with dabbing, using the torch, using the timer, laying it down at the right time and having it at the right time. All of that has been removed. This is something that is simple to use as a pipe. You put your oil in, you double click, about 18 seconds later, your dad is ready. It is coming through a full water filtration system, hears people call water pipe, some quality volume. Um, and it, it just does all the work for you or our goal in doing this was obviously dabbing is not inviting new users. It's really stigmatized. If you have a roommate, you probably been told before per year torture where mom was coming over. Um, we wanted to make something that would

Speaker 1: for our audience here might be slightly older than, than that. As far as dabbing, no. As far as, as far as roommates, who knows? I mean, I don't wanna speak for the listener, but how are you a guy that knows what you're doing in this space? So let's kind of go all the way back to when you were a kid in Brighton beach. Like what were you. Were you one of the computer kids? Were you a sports kid? Were you like always taking stuff apart? I'm definitely not a sports kid. That was a guest audience. Can't tell, but because they can't see it. There's a nice thick beard here. There's a fair amount of ink, you know, a nice little belly that I have here. Oh, well that's. We have that in common

Speaker 4: sports on, man. I, I often think about what led to this except for being an avid cannabis user. And when did that start? Teenage years. I think just entering my teenage years barely right? Pretty, pretty early. I was definitely one of those kids that had like every type of paraphernalia for my weed. I had this Zippo lighter that had the little straw pull out of the bottom and it was actually a pipe. I had a little like many tiny plastic bonds with a straw in there and every time my mom found them she thought it was like for crack and would cry and it is tough to, to be a cannabis user as a teenager likely as it should be,

Speaker 1: if I'm, if I'm gay, accurate on my guests of what age you are. It's somewhere in the nineties that she sees your paraphernalia maybe late in the nineties. Yes. And so at that point we still didn't kind of decipher maybe at a parental level between, you know, cannabis and otherwise or did she know, so it was just drugs is my point. Especially immigrant parents. It's all grouped under one thing. Oh, narcotics. Narcotics

Speaker 4: remind weed is the same as coke is the same as heroin. Everything is the same except for alcohol. Which,

Speaker 1: which is way worse than most of those things that you mentioned. Yes, it is that bleed and never made me throw up and pass out and her friends along or got you hit in the face by someone else who was using that substance as opposed to it being a Russian child. They, they definitely saw alcohol is. And I

Speaker 4: definitely had

Speaker 1: what with the good enough in my bar Mitzvah. Sure. Um, but cannabis, what? Cannabis made them feel like they failed as parents area. It was a bummer. Um, so how did you, I mean if you were kind of a young guy, were you able to communicate? Because I was an avid user as a team and I was not able to communicate specifically with my mother. My father was more like whatever, but my mother was like really? Beside herself

Speaker 4: I would say. Yeah, it, it, it in the nineties, especially when there is nothing positive about it. When the people talking about cannabis are all outlaws and when I say out why don't we take these outlaw of like, you know, they just say what they mean outlaw. Like these people are going to jail. And,

Speaker 1: and you were on the east coast of New York? Not on the west coast. So there wasn't even any kind of loosening of the regulations, decriminalization or any of that. We didn't have any of that over here.

Speaker 4: No, we're really, really, really far behind. We've been really stigmatized now. Um, it's not easy to be a New Yorker and be a cannabis user. And this is actually what led to me. This will lead to meet entering the vaporizer space is 2012. I walk into a friend's shop, a serif and in New Yorkers know that that's like a street wear shop that used to be in the city when I go in there and he's like, dude, have you seen this thing? I'm at the met blowing smoke at paintings and nobody fucks.

Speaker 1: No. And I was, I lost my mind. I couldn't

Speaker 4: believe it. This is before e-cigarettes were popular and I just remember becoming instantly liberated of, wait a minute, I could walk around in my city. I can go to that spot where I was like, man, I wish I could smoke here. It's so beautiful, but I'll instantly get arrested and that went away almost that day I found out about it.

Speaker 1: So that was kind of a reinterpretation of your relationship with cannabis? Yeah. Making it obviously something that was more essentially attainable, right? Uh, in the way that you needed it to be

Speaker 4: is the screen. I could travel with it, I wouldn't smell. You can take a huge pole, exhale. And by the time people are looking at you, you don't have anything in your hands. It's in your Po. I don't remember that specific moment. If I could just smoke and they won't know

Speaker 1: what we're talking about. Utility and I want to talk about the wellness that's attached to that because as far as what cannabis did for you, right? We now know what cannabis does for a year. Can you go back to, you know, early two thousands and when you kind of started to be a person in less, less, more a person than less of a kid. Sure. Uh, what was cannabis doing for you? You know, how much were you tapped into the wellness angle? Or is that something that you only realize in retrospect that it actually was kind of A. I

Speaker 4: definitely in retrospect,

Speaker 1: I don't think we turned. Maybe this is the people I knew or the circle I had, but we never turned to cannabis for medicine. That was very late. Understood. But how often were you kind of taking cannabis? Oh, every day for years. Because

Speaker 4: because of anxiety, because of trauma, you know, nothing

Speaker 1: that you were using it for. Wellness is my point. Definitely. I mean, looking back,

Speaker 4: I know that you went through things that are really hard to understand and cannabis makes it for me at least easier to navigate. Things that are too traumatic for you to kind of make sense of these suck that happened. It's okay man. Life goes on. Right, and

Speaker 1: let's reintroduce some positive right about now.

Speaker 4: Right? So it's, it's mostly, it's always been a positive thing for me, but the way we were I guess brainwashed as New Yorkers is even as you see these medical movements out west in Colorado and California, you're like, well that's a good excuse. I hope that works so we can all get high together. Now I see it completely differently and they'll lives. I've seen it save the people I've just seen quit drinking, lose weight, become healthier because they chose cannabis instead. I mean, I, I, I don't really see it negatively affect people. Like it was framed when I was a kid at all.

Speaker 1: What, uh, of course it's not true. Those were not fact realized that made us feel bad about ourselves for a long time. And that's, I mean, you know, we still have lives that make us feel bad about ourselves and thank goodness most of them are not about cannabis anymore. So as far as the New York program, I guess while we're here talking about cannabis in New York, I'd love to get your sense of now that you've been out and about, and we'll talk about California in a minute, maybe. Sure. You know, how do you see you're a cannabis operator, right? You operate a cannabis company. Of course you don't touch the product, but Cola hadn't compare, uh, the New York program to any other program and how it feels from, from your industry perspective.

Speaker 4: I mean the, the medical program in New York, I'm not a fan of. It's a, it's a vape only state. You can't get flour, cannabis here, um, you can only get ceo to extract the oil. So even if you are going to get concentrates, which I love and are my preferred form of consumption, you can only get ceo to oil, which is not known to have a lot of terpene content or be one of the better extractions. No offense to anyone who was CEO too, right? You need to have a pretty bad disease. But I've known a few people who have gotten in recently, I think with like back pain and distress.

Speaker 1: It's loosening. So ptsd came in on veteran's day and you know all that, but it's still a really tight. Yeah. Chip,

Speaker 4: there's a few locations and I don't know anybody who has left the black market for the medical market here. There you go. So I know people who've gotten their medical cards gone once. That's cool. Some them like the capsules they have. If they go on a flight, everybody goes back and buys weed from their dealer. My Buddy, uh, has his medical card. He has a severe case of Crohn's. We actually had to use main, a reciprocity to get product up there and bring it back down here. I didn't know that existed in me. And that's cool. And the whole trip back, we were wondering what would happen if we got pulled over what the, what the rule of law would be. Not In Connecticut, Massachusetts, we're probably fine, but Connecticut who knows, you know, it's, it doesn't feel it's progress. It's hard not to call it progress because we all know this has been the step one to get to where we want to go, but it's certainly not making any strides.

Speaker 4: And you see every other state around us making strides in Massachusetts is already going. Rec and Jersey. We've got it in the uh, legislature in New Jersey. Just got it in there. I know that Florida, well, I mean adult uses in the legislature, the legislature for potentially 2018 and Pennsylvania of course I'm not a huge fan of Jersey's laws or how they have done and so current. I'll look back at it when they changed, but I think they have done their people such a disservice. You have like draconian midwest lock you up for a long time. Laws for that's one side of an ounce of weed. It's one guy that, that's Chris Christie who, you know, I have friends there. I had headaches there. I'm not a fan of Jersey. Not Because, AH, speaking in New York, New Jersey thing, right. I'm actually not. I went to high school in Jersey.

Speaker 4: Oh, there you go. I don't talk about it a lot. How did that work by the way, will from coney island and I was about to go to Lincoln high school and my parents had the option of do we spend our money on private school for one child and we have two behind him. Right? Or do we move to New Jersey for, for school. Oh. So you did move to Jersey. So for wow, 14 moved to Jersey and then as soon as I was done I went to college there for like a year or two and then went to pace in a city stops, then you came back to Jersey and spent all my free time. Still going to hang out with my friends in Brooklyn. But yes I did do some time in Jersey. You're the older brother? There are two behind you. Twins, twins. They're twins. They, I guess somewhat known there.

Speaker 4: They have an instagram meme page. It's called the cartel twins. Cartel twins as well as the DJ and a fair enough. Got It. And so these are identical twins, identical twins. We kind of like triplets when the three of us are around. So these are boys then these are voices. And what kind of advice did you impart on them when you know you were not a kid and they still where I go. I told them if they waited until they were 18 to smoke weed, I would take them to Amsterdam and get them high for their first time. Why did you want them to wait? You know, this is something that I struggle with and arguably shouldn't open up this conversation on a podcast. Why not? I do. I do wonder as a teenager. Yeah. Talk about your most traumatic years. No matter how hard your life is or easy it is when you're trying to understand the world. Totally. And those years I got a lot of help from cannabis. I know that it hurts the developing brain, so that's the downside of it.

Speaker 1: And that's why your advice to them was to hold off until 18. So they're 18 and older

Speaker 4: now. They see the number is closer to 21 to 24 that you should be reading. Yeah.

Speaker 1: So I don't know about all that. I mean, I, you know, my, I only began when I was 17, so I was after you, but it was definitely, at least on the doorstep of I, my brain makes sense to me now. So I take your point about younger brains, but uh,

Speaker 4: I've also done okay. You know, exactly. I feel like I've gotten slower in these past few years where I'm just smoking a ton of concentrates in more than I ever have in my life, but I think, um, for how I've been built in life, my genetics, I'm still pretty sharp. I don't feel like it's hurt me at all. You're running a profitable company. Yeah. Hello? With a thing that's supposed to make me dumber. I don't know how true it is. Um, but it's, it should be something that's spoken about. Can Cannabis help teenagers and if it can, how can we reduce risks?

Speaker 1: So you were kind of almost have two minds almost kind of playing that father figure role to kind of help out with mom and dad. You knew that they'd be against it. And that's an interesting kind of nuanced approach jet for your brothers.

Speaker 4: Yeah, they're, they're going to do it. It's around their older brother who's doing it all the time. And the funny thing is, is that actually never. They waited. I never took them by the trip to answer.

Speaker 1: Well, you owe him a trip. Let me know if you need a chaperone. Okay. Well, maybe we could use one. So the La, you just brought it up. Why are we going from New York to La? We kind of mentioned a few, you know, ideas of why we might want to do that. But why is it different?

Speaker 4: Um, they're endless reasons. I mean, one, there is a huge movement that has kind of started in La of brand buyers, people that are choosing a certain type of cannabis and it's always existed with strings sort of. Um, but now you have really big brands that are popping into every state, all out of La. We're national. We're an international company where distributed very, very well. Canada, Canada, South America. Uh, we're in Mexico. Where in Europe were in Japan, oddly enough of 99 point nine percent doesn't necessarily have to be cannabis that you are just harder Puffco, right? Um, so yeah, we're, we're in a, we're in a lot of places. We don't need to be in la. We could be out of Montana if we wanted to be in just as many places, but the community there, when we're there, we get better employees were understood by people.

Speaker 4: Celebrities wanting to meet with us when we're in New York, we can't even fully engage in these conversations. We can't bring somebody over and show them how the product works that that's not allowed here. Um, and it's, that's also nice too, but our job is much easier to do the talent pool that we're pulling from as much larger. You have actual silicone valley, not too far away. Lots of amazing employees, lots of them interested in Puffco. Some have already started a Puffco. You've got a new person that uh, sounded like a, had a pretty impressive resume. Right? We were able to pull the former head of operations for beats by Dre. He was there first operations employee. He made it through all the way to their sale to apple. Oh, he did. He was in apple after the sale. They have to give them an exit.

Speaker 4: And um, yeah, that, that's the kind of people you get when you search in La and not in New York in New York. People are doing this a favor in la. People are trying to join the mission we're on. It's a very different vibe by the way. Hi Manuel. We love you. So happy and lucky to have you on. Here we go. Welcome Mat. About. There you go. I'm more concerned with the brothers getting the trip. You know what I mean? I'll be following up on that. They're going to hear this and they're, they're going to be like, listen dude, you can't film that. We're going to call in and let everyone know you didn't do it. Exactly. Exactly. Alright. Well, so, uh, I guess best of luck in La is what I'll say. Break a leg or however it, uh, you know, I'm shaking your hand for some reason at this point they're going to see it.

Speaker 4: Um, I guess it's time for the three final questions, unless I've missed something that you wanted to talk about that I haven't asked you. You know what? Yeah, I'm not usually super chatty, but I would like to tell people, make sure you're putting as much work into choosing your hardware as you are your cannabis. Why M One? I think everybody should. Obviously you are going to know why, but why? Why? If you were a, if you were lucky enough, and this is coming from New York, or if you're lucky enough to have lab reports, come with your cannabis, look at them, ask your budtender about does this have pesticides or mold or residual solvents? One hundred percent. Ask those three questions. Now, when you're vaporizing those, if any of those are in there, they're concentrated and you want hardware that is going to be free of glue, glues, plastics in your airway, anything that's going to melt.

Speaker 4: That's the reason we started the company. Our tagline was, no glues, no plastics, no fibers in our coil. Same questions essentially that you're asking about your cannabis. Ask about your hardware. Does this have any glue in it? Um, does it feel right when you pick it up? Does it feel like it's poorly built? But that's the kind of user you are. Some people aren't fortunate enough to be able to choose healthy cannabis because not healthy cannabis is just really dirt cheap. If you're one of those fortunate few exercise, this privilege that you have, because known New Yorkers have that, it comes in a box from a delivery guy to our door, they say it's great, you don't have a choice because if they leave, there's one just like 10 behind them. It's exactly. But what's Nice for Roger is that you certainly can ask that about your hardware wherever you are. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Alright, so three

Speaker 1: final questions. I'll tell you what they are. I'll ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life and on the soundtrack of your life? One track, one song that's got to be on there, but first things first, think about these. We've noted the fact that you were, you know, young a bunch in your teen years when you began your relationship with cannabis, you now your relationship with cannabis now includes you running a company. What's most surprised you about cannabis along the way

Speaker 4: as far as running a company goes? I'm surprised how quickly people have turned to it, to being open to working with it. Some of the people we're hiring, actually, if you aren't cannabis users, they're not people who really smoked. They're all open to smoking. These are people in their forties that have likely spent their life against it, that were likely a person who would have been my neighbor and called the cops to knock on my door because they were really offended by the smell. What's that smell? Is it doing drugs in there? Yeah, right. Or people who really help stigmatize it because they feared that they didn't know. And now they're more than just open to it. They're leaning into it. They want to open up businesses. They're choosing cannabis to save their lives. Um, and that's kind of crazy, I guess without talking about who in my company, but we have a couple of employees who got into cannabis because they had a medical issue that they needed help with patients themselves or their loved ones. And that has been the biggest shocker is that it's not actually just fun or just just takes the edge off. It saved a lot of lives and people. Now I'll feel that this thing is a bit more magical. Um, it feels more magical than it ever did as a kid.

Speaker 1: Sure, absolutely. I, I, I'd say it's less magical in the fact that my biggest surprise is the endocannabinoid system. It is literally scientifically built for my body, my body to show for it. And so that, I mean, there's no magic in that unless, you know, that is the ultimate magic, I guess if you believe in God, I don't ask, but I guess it's special because we didn't know before you go. And that's,

Speaker 4: that is what's magical about it. We share something that actually bonds us to this plant. We were, we were made for each other even though it didn't seem that way for a long time. Totally. Um, what's most surprised you in life? In Life? Um, that

Speaker 1: you can make money doing what you love. Pretty Cool, Huh?

Speaker 4: Not A, not a lot of money. That business is doing very well, but I'm, I'm, I'm, we're here for the ride and to pay myself a ton, but I can't believe I get to do what I do everyday.

Speaker 1: You mentioned why you started it and you know, it's, I, it all makes sense. It all adds up as, as far as the leap from what you were doing before you started this company, how did you make that and you know, did you bootstrap this thing? So how long did it take from day one of puff go to now?

Speaker 4: So our first, I don't really count our first about 20 months of business. We're just learning. So the story goes that it was it a part time thing at the time as well. It was this, it was a side Gig or a friend that I put on to these load your own vape pens said, hey dude, you're putting all of us on your, the person helping us learn these and use these. Why don't you start your own company? And I knew little enough about product developments back. Sure. Why not? Why not? Yeah. Well that's exactly how you take the leap is did you don't know enough? And then 20 months later, after a couple of efforts that we just didn't, we made a model. We didn't believe in it. We pulled it, we finally figured out how to build something and that's when it feels like we became a company.

Speaker 1: Got It. And then how did you spread the word? How did you get your customer base

Speaker 4: started on Instagram? Just by liking instagram, like pictures on Instagram, commenting on people's posts, engaging with them, talking about cannabis. Twenty first century company, man, anything. Unbelievable. Benny through social, through social. That's how we got our start. Nobody's heard of us. We also did a lot of product seeding. We hit the ground running, went to every person in New York I ever put onto vaporizing concentrates. We go to them back. We're doing this now. Please choose us if you're going to choose someone else. So I would say 20, 15 to 20 percent the community we built in person and definitely 80 to 85 percent crazy instagram on its own. Not facebook, not twitter.

Speaker 1: Instagram specifically. Say We said 20 months leading up to that from that moment, how long has it been?

Speaker 4: Um, that moment was October 2014. So that was three years ago that we've been doing this. We've got this product that's sitting here in front of us is going to be our fifth product release, which is crazy for me to think.

Speaker 1: Yeah, well the cannabis, here's our dog ears as you know, definitely feels that way. So you've been around for a wash 21 years, so that's fantastic. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you. I made it 20 months in 21 years later. That's right. Uh, so on the soundtrack of your life, Roger One track, one song that's got to be on there. And as you think about that, you know, what I might do is, is, is maybe get, give you some help. Okay. There's a, as we mentioned, a significant amount of. Yeah. What would be your favorite, you know, of all of them.

Speaker 4: My favorite tattoo. Um Hm. It might be a have this little mckadoo Roscoe, which is a Russian nesting doll. Tattoo is my only we tattoo. She has like a little weed leaf in the scarf around her head, but it's not super noticeable. Um, that is probably my favorite because it relates back to family and family, Kinda just trapped everything here. It I don't put that much meaning on my tattoos,

Speaker 1: so don't make it captured the pain of being a child growing up in a Russian community. It was all of the layers of my personality, which is a tattoo of a woman smoking a pipe and the pipe is herself and this is the one that might have a story attached to that online saying. And I feel like this was me on. I'm just making things in the communities. Image is just what we want to exist. That is how we start developing products. What do you wish existed today? And that's how this thing came to be. I can dig it. That's fantastic. All right, so now back to the project at hand here. Yeah. Yeah, it's Kinda tough. I'm a. are you a music guy? Meaning, are there many to choose from? And if so please mentioned that some of them there. There's no, not really.

Speaker 1: Oh man, it's tough. I've always been a music guy. My brothers are djs. They got my dj shut. Your um, you know, I want to see something deep like, yeah, that's, Oh man, that's a really motivating song that you're going to make it in life. Our price say like notorious Vig party and bullshit is a song that every time I put it on, on my life's pretty fucking good. Fair. That's fair. I appreciate that one. I wish I had a deeper one, but I mean, are you, for some reason you are, you must remind me of a friend of mine from college. Maybe because I'm thinking of the band morphine when I'm looking at you and morphine. You don't know that I've heard of them. Okay. So like a deep voice is uh, the, the singer has a deep voice and it's a baritone sax. Okay. And then maybe a couple of other instruments. Interesting. So that's how you make me feel. I hope that's a good feeling. Definitely. I mean it's like morphine, Baritone Sax if, uh, that that's what my soul sounds like. Okay. I'm going to have to listen to this group. So I get this reference later. There you go. Uh, Roger very much appreciate your time and just pronounce that name one last time. The last name. One last time voted our ski. I love it.

Speaker 2: And there you have Roger Vala Dar ski. It's stark when you discussed New York versus California, you almost never put them up like to like so very interesting to discuss just that with Rogers was everything else. Very much appreciate his time. Very much. Appreciate your time. Stay tuned.

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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.