Meet the Canna Californians. Gary interviews Taylor Blake from the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, David Pratt from nutrients company Emerald Harvest and Jameson Rodgers from CBDFX.
EMERALD CUP – Taylor Blake – Associate Producer
In the next section you’re going to learn about the Emerald Cup. I speak to Taylor Blake the associate producer of the emerald Cup about the legendary Northern California and Cannabis festival. Over to Taylor.
My name is Taylor Blake. I am the associate producer of the Emerald Club. It was actually started by my dad, Tim Blake 16 years ago at his property in Northern California in Laytonville California – about 3 hours north of San Francisco.
It’s a very well-known area in the Emerald triangle between Mendocino Trinity and humble county, for sun grown Cannabis.
Among him and his friends he just wanted to have a friendly competition to see who the best outdoor. And over the last 16 years it’s kind of catapulted into this global phenomenon of an event surrounding sun grown organic medicine/ Cannabis. Seeing the whole journey of it along its way. Our family run events so that’s nice element to it as well but we’re excited to be in product earth this year and checkout what you guys are doing.
That’s awesome. And you have a great area here, which is the nicest place to sit down and have a CBD coffee maybe. I’m interested in what you think about the UK right now. What your impressions of the scene?
So it’s really interesting because it does remind me of where California recently not too long ago. We really wanted it to be a legal market – we were all were pushing for that. Then it’s kind of interesting we’re almost like bound by a bit of bureaucracy right now.
I see the benefit of being this grey area, and then I see the benefit of being a legal market but then also the struggles that kind of entails.
Both sides have like their own pluses and minuses. I do think that the nuances (like we were just saying) around what you can say and what you can’t say in this market in the UK…I definitely feel for your struggle! I know it’s going to change with regulation for sure.
In terms of the Emerald Cup, can you explain to people a little bit about what goes on?
So it’s a two day festival. It takes place in Santa Rosa, CA. We have speakers and we have music. We have the largest contest that I can think of around sun grown Cannabis.
We have last year with 500 legal entries from operating businesses and we also maintain a personal use category that anybody could enter. Just for sun grown, but in the past we had up to 1000 entries. Last year we had Willie Nelson coming to accept the Willie Nelson award which is our new version of the lifetime achievement award.
It’s always been very important for us to kind of have that celebration of the fall harvest and so like culturally for us maintaining that position in Northern California – so we want to make it a party and celebration but also have educational elements to it as well. And then also bring in the canna curious. So it’s kind of a combination of a lot of different things.
I read that the cannabis industry is attracting a lot of female entrepreneurs – why do you think that is?
There’s always been women in Cannabis. Historically because it was an illegal thing and cos of families, men just kind of came to the forefront of it because if there was like a legal issue around families and children. You couldn’t have that risk there. That being said, women have always been in it. I think that right now is definitely the women’s time to shine!
How do you see the industry developing in the US and over here in the UK?
I think there’s going to be two really big things in the US. Once there’s interstate transport and global trade around Cannabis, I think that’s going to blow up, when we can be interstate legal.
California is the biggest agricultural state in the United States – I think that’s going to be a big huge widening of cannabis globally when we’re able to transport freely.
What I hope to see here is the expansion. I think having this CBD legally allowed is the first step and then the next step is a…broadening horizon.
It’s interesting. One of the best things about being here (in the UK) is that I feel like we have this little bubble that we’re in, in Northern California where sun grown cannabis is the expected way that you would get your flowers.
Indoor is definitely more prevalent in the eastern side than in California. So for us its all sun grown Cannabis. Being able to experience that. The best Cannabis in the world for that region.I think it would be really interesting to see if you’re from the UK.
Come and experience the culture of cultivators and their families at the Emerald Cup. I think it’s a very unique and really fun thing to experience.Taylor Blake – The Emerald Cup
More info: theemeraldcup.com
EMERALD HARVEST – David Pratt – Founder
In the next section I meet David Pratt from US nutrients company Emerald Harvest. I sat down with David to talk about the business and get some insights into those incredible emerald harvest T-shirts.
Our name is Emerald Harvest and we started in 2014 and we make liquid plant nutrients for the hydroponic space. We really decided to make the nutrients that we felt the growers were looking for, after talking to thousands of growers. People were looking for a simplified, condensed, nutrient program that was easy to use from the beginner level up to scale in industrial commercial grows.
Is the UK market something that’s opened for you more recently? And if so, what were the reasons behind that?
Less than 2 years ago we were approached by our distributor The Growers Wholesale here in Leicester UK. They came to us and found us at the MJ Bizcon in Las Vegas and asked to be our distributor and we really began selling here exactly 1 year ago this last year and it has been amazing.
I’ve seen quite a bit of development in one year really. It appears that the market is starting to breakout!
I would say it’s becoming more liberalized. There’s a lot more interest in the medicinal effects and I think that the waves of change are sort of coming across the pond.
One of the things I couldn’t help but notice was your branding and graphic design really stood out, especially the T shirts…
We wanted to make sure that our branding and our taglines were pretty much bullseyes. What I mean by that is the taglines, the names of products should be in accord. Everything should be in accord. I personally took quite a lot of time over that.
I’m personally a big fan of the Art Nouveau movement and Alphonso Mucha. He was really influential in the 20s. If you look closely at our artwork you’ll see elements of that in the corner motif-ing, the window box design.
For someone who hasn’t seen them – they are a little bit like rock n roll band posters from the late sixties to early seventies. Maybe a bit Grateful Dead!
Yeah, well we’re based an hour north of San Francisco so that influence is hard to avoid in our neck of the woods. I’ve been to many (Grateful Dead) shows!
What do you think will happen in the UK in the next 5 years in respect to the canna industry?
The wave has already started of change. And change is the only constant we know. You could say maybe the ‘cats out of the bag’ and that the changes are already underway.
What I noticed in the United States, long ago we knew that the changes were going to happen and that ultimately legally things would change and still we’re federally not legal. I think for us that change is imminent.
The prohibition of the plant has led to years of pressure that needs to be decompressed slowly. You can’t just change society overnight, it’s a process and I think that this process will mirror the alcohol re legalization process that happened back in the US -to similar effect.
Regulation is a double-edged sword. It’s difficult for people to adjust but in the end, we end up with a much safer system. A more empirical science based, and evidence based. We can start talking about medicine and start really studying the plant and its effect, really its about making progress to improving a lot for humanity and that’s what this is about.
This plant is a staple pillar of human agriculture for as long as agriculture has been around.David Pratt – Emerald Harvest
It’s like we’ve taken a pillar off of the temple of agriculture and now we are reintroducing it. So what I imagine is that within 5 years you’ll have a recreational program here in the UK.
Find out more at Emeraldharvest.co
CBDFX – Jameson Rodgers – CCO
In this next section I talk to James Rogers from CBDFX the Californian based brand, who are taking the UK by storm. CBDfx have just launched their UK headquarters, and I spoke to Jameson to find out more.
We started CBDfx in 2014 we set out to focus on launching one layered functional SKU after the next. In 2014 in the US we launched out of our Los Angeles headquarters.
Does the UK right now remind you of the US in 2014?
Yes. Because it’s all so new and there’s a different level of excitement around the education side for CBD. One of the biggest proponents of the CBD industry has been word of mouth. We’re excited we just launched this year our headquarters here in the UK as well to better service the European customers.
In terms of your brand identity and graphic design. I think it’s quite fun and memorable. Do you have a super target customer in mind?
A lot of our retail partners say that they feel like our products resonate really the millennial generation Z kind of customer. We’ve taken a stance on branding when it comes to colour blocking. Most of our products like the bombs or face mask (or gummies) they all have some sort of colour blocking elements to make sure that when the product is on the shelf it stands out. There’s consistency across the board in terms of the brand stylization. But there’s a fine line between being too fun and also being organic and healthy and coming across as a brand that really cares about what is in the product and so we hopefully we are towing that line properly.
Talk about some of your products here.
From the vape pens to tinctures. There’s flavoured tinctures. We have 2-ounce drink that we call it ‘chill shot’. You’ve got mouth strips like Listerine strips kind of. Capsules. Multiple different kinds of gummy bears. We’re launching 3 more gummies here in the next 30 to 40 days. Men’s and women’s multivitamins. An apple cider vinegar gummy which is super healthy. Face mask, topicals and a wide range of bombs, as well as the high- end beauty line called Jupiter oil. We’ve got several SKUs launching in the next 30 to 40 days. Every week or 2 we’re launching something!
Outside the UK –in locations where’ its legally permitted do you sell THC versions of the product range as well?
No, we took a stance early on to not delve into anything that has to do with THC and is regulated on a state by state level. In the US our supply chain is quite robust manufacturing various types of products.
We will never and have never worked with THC products. The CBD market is too big and we’re having too much fun.Jameson Rodgers – CBDFX
In the UK there are various restrictions on advertising. Google PPC and Facebook PPC are not possible for people selling CBD. Can you give listeners an insight to how you’re able to market products when you don’t have the normal channels to work with?
So back to word of mouth. If you put out a really high-quality product and someone has a good experience, then they’re going to tell their friends naturally and so that’s been our biggest proponent in terms of spreading the word and creating our loyal consumer base.
Aside from that we try to put out really educational, unique content regularly. Like literally everyday there’s another article, another blog there’s some sort of education to read.
What do you think will change in the UK in the next 5 years in respect to the canna industry?
I think CBD in general will be in every single household. CBD is one of the unique things that basically everyone can benefit from.
There will be a lot fewer brands. Naturally in any booming industry everybody jumps in for a chance to get a piece of the pie and then some sort of consolidation takes place.