Green Dreams and Challenges: Navigating New York’s Cannabis Industry

Join us on a journey into the world of cannabis entrepreneurship in New York as we sit down with Kim Stetz and Chef Marq, two entrepreneurs who recently secured a cannabis license in the state. In this candid conversation, they share their experiences, challenges, and hopes for the budding industry in the Empire State.

From the complexities of getting their cannabis business off the ground to the hurdles they’ve faced in securing real estate and navigating the ever-evolving regulations, Kim and Chef Marq discuss the highs and lows of being pioneers in New York’s cannabis market.

Discover the impact of legalization on marginalized communities, the importance of education around cannabis, and the innovative ideas they’re exploring to create a unique cannabis delivery experience.

Tune in to gain insights into the rapidly changing world of cannabis in New York and the resilience required to thrive in this high-stakes industry.

Transcript:

00:01 Eric:

This is The Roots to Risk Podcast hosted by Eric Schneider, alongside Isaac Bach. Roots To Risk brings you insights, the latest stories, and long form discussions about the cannabis industry. You’ll hear interviews with industry leaders and their perspective on current and future trends, how they’ve built success and what challenges they have faced. Our goal is to facilitate candid conversations and provide informative content for the cannabis community at large. Let’s go, Isaac, how are we feeling today?

00:31 Isaac:

Not as good as you probably are with a big win for the Jays this past weekend. You know, by the time this comes out, they could be back to Memorial Day weekend, final Four.

00:40 Eric:

<laugh>. Now you’re getting, but since you were in Cage, that was a long time ago.

00:45 Isaac:

That was, we’re old, so

00:47 Eric:

I know. But in better news, we got another Roosters podcast coming out here. Yes, we do.

00:55 Eric:

We got a awesome set of guests coming on the show. Uh, card applicants and licensed winners in the first rollout. Won a license, um, as of November 21st, 2022. Um, really, really cool story on deck. Uh, chef Mark, I’m, I’m excited to have him on just ’cause I love to cook and I know he’s a beast in the kitchen. But also, uh, rolling out a really cool operation out of South Hampton. You know, chef Mark, um, he’s Bronx born artist and legacy pharmacist, turned entrepreneur.

01:29 Eric:

He’s the founder of Kilo, um, co-founder of Recipe for Humanity, an anti recidivism catering company, teaching marginalized and formerly incarcerated individuals, the soft skills of hospitality. Um, as well with his, uh, business partner Kimberly. They, um, were, as I mentioned, uh, licensee winners. Um, one of the first set of card applicants. Uh, so really, really excited to get their insight on, you know, how the process has been so far.

02:00 Eric:

What are the struggles? What are they excited about, um, and what are they most focused on?

02:05 Isaac:

No, definitely. I think having, you know, just giving his background, and I know you’ve, uh, you’ve had a little bit more contact with them than I have, but hearing their perspective, just giving, you know, what he’s been through personally and like the, the challenges and everything that he’s overcome and now that’s opened the door for this opportunity. It’s gonna be really interesting to see how he views the industry, um, and how, you know, they’re dealing with some of the, uh, the hiccups that have come through the, uh, the process here in New York.

02:33 Eric:

Yeah, no abs I feel like we’ve like all heard a lot of chatter about what’s happening and, and why there’s issues, but it’s gonna be, I think, impactful to get, you know, someone’s firsthand experience.

02:44 Isaac:

Absolutely.

02:46 Eric:

Alrighty. Let’s bring ’em in. Hey, Kim and Chef Mark. How we doing? What’s

02:50 Chef Mark:

Going on? Doing okay.

02:52 Eric:

Is that, do you go by Chef Mark or you Mark what’s, uh,

02:56 Chef Mark:

I’m, I’m, um, I’m Chef Mark with a q uh, yep. Also known as Chef Murder from the Bronx. But, uh, right now we’re gonna, we’re gonna keep it very, uh, diplomatic and yeah. Chef Mark with a Q

03:08 Kim:

And I. Sounds good. And I’m Kim, um, <laugh>. Just Kim, not a Kimberly and, uh, Buddhist Yogi psychotherapist. So I’m in the mental That’s awesome. Mental health space of this whole thing.

03:22 Eric:

Yeah. Well, let’s, let’s, uh, let’s dive into it. Uh, really excited to have you guys on here and, and appreciate you taking the time. We’d love if each of you can kind of provide, you know, your background, um, how you got into the cannabis space, and then would love to learn a little bit more about, you know, keep it at a hundred L l c.

03:39 Chef Mark:

Yeah, go ahead, Kim. You can, uh, in introduce them to the wellness aspect and we’ll roll into, uh,

03:44 Kim:

Yeah, the technicalities. Yeah. So, well, we found out that marijuana legal in New York State and, um, living out in Washington, both New Yorkers, and came back literally a year ago in June. Um, back and forth though, um, just to get out during Covid and have nice place to stay. Um, and so now marijuana’s legal and I’m a harm reduction approach person.

04:15 Kim:

And, um, like a friend of mine had a farm upstate and he had converted and was selling weeded. And so we’re like, okay, um, where, how, what’s this space for Mark? And I’m like, I know, I know you went to prison. Do you, were you ever arrested for selling weeded? ’cause I knew he was sell, arrested for other things. Um, and he said, yeah, I think so. I was in there somewhere. And, um, because he, he literally didn’t know, ’cause he’d been arrested so many times, he had no idea when it was,

04:46 Chef Mark:

When you say the Bronx, you could be arrested for being. So,

04:49 Kim:

Yeah. So, um, so we did some research and, um, and just gathered all the information and applied, um, had no idea. We’re like, yeah, we’re gonna get this, but I don’t know. So it turns out 900 people applied for the card license, conditional adult use recreational, uh, dispensary. That, that was this license cost $2,000. Um, we really went into it with, um, rolling the dice, like literally, or like, I, I, who knows, like I, I’m, I’m not having anything to do with marijuana in my life other than he smokes it all the time.

05:29 Kim:

And, um, and he’s not selling weed or anything anymore. He’s a chef and we have a business. And so, uh, a business with food and, um, health and wellbeing and all that stuff. So, so we got the license, we found out in November, we got the license, and it’s, it’s, uh, been a shit show pretty much since then. <laugh> meaning, ’cause New York State doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing on how to get, uh, how to get this thing up and running. So I’ll, I’ll, uh, let Mark fill in

05:56 Chef Mark:

From there. It, um, so cannabis for me, well, once again, you know, the Bronx, what’s up in New York City, we, uh, I I I didn’t realize how embedded, um, being a street pharmacist was, was, was, was threaded into my family background. Like, upon getting this license. Um, I was totally done with like a, I was reprimanded, spent 16 months in jail, like, okay, changing my life, coming home and creating this, uh, catering company that teaches formerly incarcerated individuals, the soft skills of hospitality completely removed from anything that’s going on in New York.

06:37 Chef Mark:

Um, not knowing what the criteria was. So the lack of interest didn’t allow me to understand how eligible or how validating, um, me just putting my name on it. Kim was the precursor saying, Hey, we should probably do it. Um, but upon getting it and having conversations with my family who don’t have a clue of what’s going on and what we, we provisionally, uh, hold right now.

07:02 Chef Mark:

Mom tells me a story at six months old where I was, uh, the mule for my dad who had got arrested for marijuana, and he was on Rikers, and I had like an ounce in my pamper going to visit Irv. So like, just, and then I went on, I left house at 14. I was, I was in the streets very deep in the streets, um, sold drugs. Marijuana wasn’t considered a drug. It, you know, it was a sedative at that point, but I didn’t understand how it, uh, suppressed or you don’t get diagnosed.

07:33 Chef Mark:

There’s no P T S D. There’s no certain things you don’t understand how to process until now, at a later age, I’m understanding that society wants to change the narrative on what marijuana looks like, how it contributes to society, and the people who, if, if not anyone should be, have access to it if they want to.

07:53 Chef Mark:

Um, so here we are. Uh, we transferred what was out west in the process of trying to create America’s first minority culinary school and, uh, teach formerly incarcerated individuals, put them on farms, agriculture, the whole, the whole aspect. Here we are today. The enticement for me when it comes to this license is the future on it. Like what’s a cannabis hospitality group look like? What, um, type of nonprofits can merge from this, this rollout?

08:25 Chef Mark:

I’m, I’m so far ahead of it because I don’t un, I don’t believe that it’s going to serve the purpose that they intended to serve. Right now. It’s actually causing more harm here in New York. Um, just, I don’t know if that was a summary, but it’s causing more harm in the context where now that I have a license, I can’t do a cannabis dinner, where is how I make money?

08:46 Chef Mark:

Um, I was the blood, sweat and tears, uh, in the back of a caravan for 72 hours because I went to grab a, a 50 sack on Dikeman and they had to reach a quota. So they would snatch bodies coming out of a building, throw them in a caravan, and they would be in that caravan for three days straight, so these officers could get overtime. Um, but here we are today, you got guys from <laugh>, Afghanistan, smoking marijuana, at least with fentanyl in the store, selling marijuana. Like, there’s just a lot of ’em, some not paying taxes.

09:18 Chef Mark:

I don’t, I don’t, I don’t understand how the transition benefits the legacy at, at times, but I’m trusting the process, but also making sure that I don’t get lost in the process because it, it’s, it’s gonna be a, a high failure rate.

09:35 Eric:

Yeah. And, and I mean, we, we definitely see, I mean, Isaac and I both live like right off of seventh Avenue Yeah. In New York, just south of Penn Station. So, um, there’s about, I think like 10 different dispensaries between 21st and, and Penn Station, which is, yeah, we

09:51 Isaac:

Live five blocks apart, and I think apart, and you can probably find eight dispensaries in between our two apartments, which is crazy.

09:57 Chef Mark:

We go get some toilet paper, play lotto, grab a beer, and get, I mean, new York’s winning, right? I can’t lie if that is the setup. We, we beat Amsterdam tenfold. <laugh>,

10:08 Isaac:

<laugh>.

10:09 Eric:

But it’s not putting you in a position to be successful. I, right. I mean, you know,

10:13 Chef Mark:

It forces me to get the wheels turning and I, I’m the guy that thinks outside. Yeah, always. You have to, that’s what New York is. We trend set. We don’t follow trends. So with that, they’re like, this is an obstacle. We’ve given you guys the opportunity to, to, to roll out this service. What can you do with it? It’s more of an experience that’s being introduced to New York. I, I’m kind of glad that people are under the impression that these are dispensaries. You know, you’ve started, like there’s, those are not dispensaries, right? They’re stores. Right, right. Um, yeah, we have an opportunity to create the experience of what a New York dispensary looks like.

10:48 Chef Mark:

And I’m, I’m chiming into the food aspect with it. You know, munchies, you, you, you, you want a good nibble after you have a nice little, uh, whatever, whatever your preference is, but you want, you want the next chapter of that, you know, what’s, what’s, what else are we doing today?

11:02 Chef Mark:

Um, so creating that whole experience. We’re stationed in Long Island. We have currently a space in South Hampton that’s opted in. And, uh, it’s been, uh, approved by O C M for delivery. So, um, right now we are sitting down day in and day out, just just reaching out to the right capital, uh, funding something that, that, that understands what we’re a part of on top of what, what’s needed to get this thing rolling. Because this, there’s people that wanna make money, but we’re trying to make money for a cause.

11:34 Chef Mark:

We’re not just trying to make money, we’re trying to create a positive capitalism, if I must, in, in a sense where giving it back to people who will never see it. I’m, I’m, I’m here and I could potentially break a curse that exists in my family. So, and the family doesn’t even know that it, there is a curse <laugh>. Um, so that’s exciting for me, but it’s really, really hard. ’cause it’s a lot of pressure when you, when you get the pushback from individuals who don’t understand what you’re playing for, you know?

12:05 Kim:

Yeah,

12:07 Eric:

Absolutely. Well, south Hampton’s a a great, great location. Um, very cool. I’m from, I’m from Long Island myself, so, uh, a little, um, always

12:18 Chef Mark:

Have a, we like to

12:18 Kim:

Party. Yeah. We both spent time out there over the years, um, when I launched my yoga career about 20 years ago, um, had five clients and that, that was it, you know, then translated into the city, and then you got your, your 10 10 people for 10 years and, and you’re, and you’re done. Um, similarly with Mark, he has, uh, private chefing and all, you know, just all that, uh, so, and you know, it’s, it’s the Hampton <laugh>, you know?

12:53 Kim:

Absolutely. It’s, it’s like we, we, we want a business out there. We wanna, you know, it’s

12:56 Chef Mark:

Also, it’s also a food desert.

12:58 Kim:

Yeah, yeah.

12:59 Chef Mark:

You know, good people go out, it’s a tourist attraction, you know, the peak season and people want to go find a place to eat <laugh> and, and then a place to hang out and then go to the beach. So our, our, um, delivery service kilo would be the name of the delivery service, uh, cannabis with a k uh, infused luxury operators. So you’re going to, you’re going to Shelter Island, and you, you need some sunscreen. You, you can get that ordered with the T H C inside of it if you want.

13:32 Chef Mark:

And your little packaged beach kit of edibles beverages. And the things we think will be suitable for your, your, your experience. Same thing with festivals or concerts. And then you got, you know, this is South Hampton. People like to host parties. So that’s where my mindset trickles into cannabis. Hospitality. Like, we can come structure and, and kick ass when it comes to the food. Some nice, uh, <inaudible> Michelin star chef with this crew come to lacing that, but also have a table set up to teach you how to roll a blend if you’ve never had that mm-hmm.

14:05 Chef Mark:

<affirmative> or learn about, um, the things that are being introduced in under this umbrella, which is its own bucket that, that, that is not in an average dispensary.

14:16 Kim:

Yeah. And the services as well, um, to go with all of that health and wellness parties. Yes. Um, I’m, uh, I’m working with, not that we can add this in there, well, maybe inside, uh, psychedelics as well. So I’m one of these psychotherapists who, um, believes in plant medicine and other types of, um, products, if you will, that can help people move through their P T S D anxiety and depression.

14:47 Kim:

And you can have a yoga class, you can have meditation, you can have sound baths with gummies. Oh. And the thing that, um, I’ve learned most through Marcus, I, I sample gummies now all the time. And, um, the, the, I’ve learned that they have C B D with t h C in them. So if it’s five and five and 10 and 10, um, I’m light. Like I am a lightweight. And so we’re gonna have, uh, a lot, well, it can’t be our line unless we white label your line, but we’re gonna have innocence.

15:18 Kim:

Yeah.

15:19 Chef Mark:

And innocence,

15:19 Kim:

Like the, the women’s, like for women who want to start using, um, products, and you don’t, it’s, it’s, it’s something, I mean, we’re talking about tools to help people work through, um, whatever’s going on for them, right? You, you have people who drink wine once it’s noon or whatever their thing is. Um, you can do whatever you want, but it’s nice to have other options out there too. And the fact that t h C and marijuana is a plant medicine, which is different than alcohol.

15:58 Kim:

They, they have different re uh, repercussions if you will. They have different, uh, ways of responding to people’s bodies and chemistry. So, um, the education around that I think is really important. And, um, which yeah, that’s, and, and you can have, you can, you can take a gummy and be like, wow, I am chilled out, but I’m not out, you know, I’m not like locked up and like, oh, I can’t do anything now and I can actually get in a car.

16:29 Kim:

Yeah. If I have a five milligram gummy, you will be fine.

16:32 Chef Mark:

Which, which is a good point to, to chime in because a lot of, uh, long Island is, is, uh, veterans or people over 50 and, and they don’t know much about what’s going on and the education that needs to, to carry with that whole, um, transition.

16:48 Kim:

Yeah.

16:49 Chef Mark:

On orcas, we, um, Orca Island, Washington, you know, I, we were fortunate enough to, to know the owner and they let me set up a tent and I was cooking outside of it, but they’re, I would say 60% of this, this island’s clientele were 60 and older, you know, and these guys were grossing 13, maybe $15,000 a day on this small island that only has about 5,000 people residing on it on a year and 20,000 on the peak season. Um, and they couldn’t even vertically integrate.

17:21 Chef Mark:

So his son was the processor, like literally five steps away. And then he owned the next plot of Land up top, and that was the dispensary. Um, and I’m like, well, we need food. So I put the munchies tent adjacent to that, and we were, we were having fun. So this was really, really exciting. ’cause I’m out there trying to, to, to create a mainstay with the loopholes that Washington has to work in New York introduces this opportunity Consumption lounge, <laugh>.

17:44 Chef Mark:

I believe we, um, I don’t know too much about it. I think we could even have greenhouses where we could sell clone plants to individuals to bring home, there’s a lot of revenue streams attached to it. Um, the goal is to help them work out the kinks. I literally am going to get on a phone call with Ruben McDaniels probably after this. We’ve had a really long conversation with, uh, the equity fund leader today, LAA Willis. And, um, they, they have information that we as car licensees are not receiving, so it’s kind of convoluted to understand what’s going on, being the position we’re in.

18:22 Chef Mark:

But she kind of eased that, that uncertainty. So, um, I can’t wait to hear from Reuben and then share that with, uh, the rest of the car licensees.

18:31 Isaac:

Yeah. That actually leads me to a question I had for, you know, you guys is, um, you know, how has the process been so far? I mean, I know it’s been a mess, but like, what have been the major hurdles you guys are trying to get across and what’s been the most helpful, you know, resource group of people that you’ve found to help you work through some of those items as they continue to come up? ’cause it’s a, it’s a never ending revolving door of, uh, issues that seem to pop up for, for you guys. <laugh>,

18:59 Kim:

I just, I wanna say Mark and I are each other’s biggest resource, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we literally, the space we got e everything we do are, because we, we’ve done it before, we both own businesses. We’re both New Yorkers. We have, um, just really <laugh> really smart at getting shit done with very little. Um, and we can only get so far until we actually have real capital.

19:31 Kim:

So there’s,

19:32 Chef Mark:

There’s not, for me, I mean, life is chess. I’m, I’m no dummy. I understand. I’m the guy who went to prison for 60 months and refuse to go to the mess hall. And I turn my cell into a restaurant, and then I got the warden come into my, my, my cell to get food As he’s, so I’m the guy who takes the situation and tries to create my, uh, comfort zone within it. Whatever the situation is. I can’t complain. I can never be victim. But if I’m gonna participate, I gotta figure out how to participate. You know, with, with everyone being comfortable with that.

20:04 Chef Mark:

And with this, it’s like, um, we, uh, we gotta lift up every rock. We can’t, we can’t let them give us a few rocks and say, those are the rocks you can lift up. We have to lift up every rock.

20:15 Chef Mark:

I, I’m looking at it and it’s, they meant well, they mean well, but only the strong are going to survive in this, this, this atmosphere right now. And verbally, the, the people from the organization are saying it’s, it’s close to a 50% failure rate. Like 50% of you guys are not gonna make it to market. And I’m like, well, that’s information we need to know also. Like, those statistics should be shared with us. ’cause that that’s the gumption and grit that could kick in on our end and, and help you guys get us to market.

20:46 Chef Mark:

Like the, the, the real estate, uh, climate is just extremely conservative here. Yeah. We are the individuals from marginalized communities that got scholarships to go to Ivy League colleges. So as soon as we walk in, you know, there’s this, this different type of microscope and, you know, we gotta prove ourselves even more. But, uh, what was once a $6,400 rent was 12 eight because, and he wants us to sign tomorrow.

21:19 Chef Mark:

He’s, he’s doing us a favor. So it’s, this is the type of shit we’re dealing. We speak to these, these guys. Yeah.

21:26 Kim:

And then, and then the space wouldn’t even, the city wouldn’t, uh, even approve or township wouldn’t approve of it. So we’ve, we’ve spent some time out there and connected with, um, councilmen and the right people, and they want us there. And, um, we do have a delivery space, um, with the landlord is great. Did not hike up the rent. Um, is is beautiful rent. Yeah. Yeah.

21:51 Chef Mark:

Could, could, could store up to 25 cars

21:54 Kim:

For our, and it’s still in delivery, like I said, like we, we really wanna just focus on delivery. And MJ unpacked, which was a couple weeks ago, it’s, uh, yep. Yeah. It was real, really super helpful having that. And that’s all everybody was talking about was delivery. Yeah. They’re just saying it is the way, and it’s, I mean, that’s, that was Mark’s brainchild from the get go, not even knowing how difficult the, the finding a retail space in, uh, out on Long Island was going to be. Um, he was like, it’s, we’re doing delivery.

22:23 Chef Mark:

It’s, it’s post covid. I mean, we, we can’t forget what just happened, if anything surged during that, it was e-commerce. Um, I’ve, I’ve, I grew up in the Bronx and I loved Sears. One day I woke up and Sears was gone because they couldn’t afford the rent because Amazon came into play. And that’s the angle with this, this, the, uh, cannabis delivery services being like the Amazon of cannabis goods, recreational, modern recreational goods, and having a, uh, two hours flat, you know, or whatever. They don’t give us much room to give incentives around discounts and stuff.

22:56 Chef Mark:

But, um, ideas around a good membership program, people line and we learn about what their needs are. We learn about what they want when they want it, um, develop some type of customer, uh, business relationship. And, um, with that membership package, they gain access to functions that, you know, are under the table.

23:17 Chef Mark:

Like a dinner that I do, or, or, or an art show. I’m rolling out an art show to try to raise some money for, um, for this delivery space coming soon. I’m gonna be, uh, doing my first New York art show. Invite you guys. And, uh, hell yeah. I am also in the process of trying, like, so I’m just trying to create events. I’m thinking, uh, got some approval from Damien on, um, doing a block party for card and, um, Damien Fagan, right? Damien Fagan, the chief exec equity officer of O C M. And, um, they’re like, great idea.

23:48 Chef Mark:

And I’m like, O C M should sponsor it. No, we can’t be attached to anything you guys do. I’m like, okay, so you love my idea <laugh>, but mom and dad can’t come to the fucking concert once we throw it. He’s like, exactly. I’m like, okay. Um, so work around that. And, um, they love the idea. I think there’s more to being a card licensee as individuals and people need to know what we represent. So I I, I feel like a block party, you showcase what you do outside of this and how that’s going to, to thread itself or fold itself into your business plan.

24:23 Chef Mark:

And, and, and so people can get a better understanding of who, who they, um, are trying to support. ’cause right now it’s, it’s pity. It’s not support. <laugh>.

24:32 Kim:

Uh, there’s something else I was thinking of. Um, you mentioned resources and when this whole when, uh, November 21st, I believe is the day when we found out that, that we were of the first 30 people to get the license. Um, Des Lewis from Bronx Foundation, he really stepped up and he created the first dispen for dispensary type situation up in the Bronx. And he, he reached out to us and said, Hey, can you guys come up?

25:03 Kim:

Can you be a part of any of this? And it was that opening day. Um, so we just learned a lot. And we met, um, there’s a guy, um, from cca, cca, Mike, we call him. And we’re like, okay, if we can’t get it, we, we need delivery. We need to make sure this delivery. So we are our own advocates. We are lobbying, we are. Um, so literally within an hour they added delivery to their regulations.

25:35 Kim:

It’s fact, there was no delivery written anywhere. And they also added pop-up because Mark spoke about, you know, this is what I do. I do pop-up and I want delivery within an hour. That was added to, and it changed. So you are, you are speaking to and looking at the people who had that added to the regulations. That’s or that’s a good point. The options. That’s a good, that’s a good point. Um, and because we’re not sitting back waiting to receive and get like, oh, well here’s your this and here’s your that.

26:07 Kim:

No. Um, we are creating and may and, um, the vision of what it looks like to have a recreational license to a talented person, like Mark is a chef. Yeah. And let me,

26:24 Chef Mark:

Can I chime in?

26:25 Kim:

Yeah, yeah. Go, go.

26:26 Chef Mark:

She, she brought, Kim brought up a great point. I think what, um, and I want to thank New York State and O C m and everyone involved in this organization that has individuals like myself and in the company we keep with this opportunity. It, it taught me that I can speak up for myself though. Um, there are individuals that don’t have licenses, but they have voices now in a way that they’ve never had voices. Like people have intention and meaning and purpose behind this.

26:58 Chef Mark:

You know, they’re finding that my dad was locked up and we was growing, and I’m a really good processor, and you told me I wasn’t. And you know, they’re, they’re speaking up. So this, I never, the only thing I knew about lobbying was when p b s, when the bill would walk up the steps, as you know, that’s lobbying. Uh, you never be in any other position, <laugh>. I’m just a bill. So Yeah.

27:21 Eric:

For me to <laugh> go out

27:23 Chef Mark:

And do that,

27:23 Eric:

Right. I just, I just had like a flashback to like elementary school or thet with the TV on the big stand, wheeling it into the room. Yeah. It just

27:32 Kim:

Sits back on the steps, you know, right there where you live. Exactly. I think it’s right around there. You know,

27:37 Chef Mark:

The second you are eligible for this because you’ve been arrested, you can’t go out and and participate in any of that stuff anymore. Um, but now we’re speaking up, we know about community engagement. Uh, we we’re, we’re we’re dealing with politicians and writing letters to the governor. I don’t know if you guys heard, I was one of the individuals who, um, spearheaded that letter that went out for the car licensees that out of 163 of us that have been issued provisional licenses, only seven of us wanted to sign that.

28:12 Chef Mark:

That kind of disappointed me. I was one of the seven. Um, and probably one of the main reasons like Kim did mention, but that, while I’m gonna speak to the c e o of, uh, DSMI later today, because like, uh, there’s, there’s nothing to take from us. Just give us some answer. <laugh>, we don’t have anything. There’s nothing to lose. Hope is the worst thing to take from someone though, you know, having, having hope and it, it’s not ever going to come to fruition is like pretty devastating.

28:44 Chef Mark:

But we’re New Yorkers. We can get over it fast if we know that that’s the case right now. So I’m trying to squeeze that shit out of them right now.

28:50 Kim:

Yeah. Resilience is definitely the name of the game here. Um, and I mean, I, I’ve known Mark for five years and I’ve never met anybody like him in my life and the, uh, through Covid and, you know, everything, it is just, he, he gets shit done in ways that you’ve never, I, I mean, yeah, that’s, that’s all I’m gonna say.

29:23 Kim:

<laugh>, it’s sitting next to the two.

29:24 Eric:

No. And that, and that’s super. It’s, that’s awesome. It’s super powerful. And you, you need that support system, right? Especially when you’re having the difficulties and the frustrations and you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall, right? You, you need that support system to continue to push forward, right? Yeah.

29:40 Chef Mark:

We just need a sign. Although you’re not, you might think you’re insane. That genius comes off as insanity usually. Um, Kim, Kim is a, a, a, it’s, it’s, I grew up being kind of like the sharpest knife in the draw, and I couldn’t get sharper because still sharp and still, and, uh, actually was becoming dumb under thinking that art and passion and, and, and owning a business were things that we could have tangibly access to, accessible things that we could have in our community. Um, so we do have a nonprofit, it’s called Recipe for Humanity.

30:16 Chef Mark:

We are in South Hampton and we do have to pay municipal taxes. Um, but there’s also a kind of breaking another curse of this Robert Moses, uh, area that takes place where we will be the very first ever in history, black owned, uh, cannabis retail, much less commercial business in this area of town at the level that we’re doing. It’s just, as I sat and I did the, the homework on that, I’m like, well, you’re definitely gonna get pushback. I mean, these, these people have spaces that open up seven months a year, and they gross $1.22 million and they vacation for the rest.

30:55 Chef Mark:

You know? Um, that’s, that’s a privilege. And, uh, I won it. So

31:02 Kim:

It’s, it’s really interesting how literally out on Orcas, um, which one of the San Juan Islands very wealthy space place, um, where everybody from Seattle, all the tech people come and we were calling it the shas ’cause we’re New Yorkers, and we’re like, yeah, we’re, you know, Hamptons and stuff. So it was the shas. And so, um, so <laugh>,

31:27 Chef Mark:

Yeah. See Seattle, we’re

31:28 Kim:

Like, we’re we’re doing this, this mockup version of, of ideally of if we, if we, if we could have this in New York, that’s never gonna happen. And meanwhile we’re like, you welded into existence. I’m like, are you? Wait, wait, wait. What? We’re not gonna be in the Hamptons. We’re actually gonna be in the Hamptons. You know,

31:46 Chef Mark:

It was funny because I developed a relationship. We’ve developed a relationship. I mean, I’m not the guy that wants to go to the supermarket buy stuff. I want to grow the vegetables. I wanna make the fucking table, the cups, the plates, everything. Um, and when it came to, to sourcing, we, we, we stumbled upon the natives who have, they’re the largest, uh, salmon distributors in the world in this area, Lummi Island. Um, and I met, I met the chief and, uh,

32:13 Kim:

Yeah,

32:14 Chef Mark:

I met Oyster Farms. One of my good friends, he’s a chefy, he’s an oyster farmer. And I can get oysters that New York has never had ever. So the process here is, um, with this nonprofit that I’m talking about teaching guys, we wanna make some oyster carts similar to hot dog carts. And I’ll probably have, since I can’t have in my dispensary until the rollout and the regulations are right. You know, we’ll have some oyster carts in front of this, this thing, oyster, tacos, shucked, grilled, and um, thank you. Marijuana, hot sauce there. You know, just, just the infusion to get, give people a little taste of what’s to come until we, until New York gets their shit.

32:48 Chef Mark:

Right. You know, we’re, we’re thinking of you. We got, we got some cool stuff going. But what I, I started this conversation saying, so we went out west, we found Lummi, and um, soon as we realized we are entering Shinnecock territory, we went and we established a relationship with the Shinnecock Nation out here, uh, at MJ Mpact, I forget her name. She is a, uh, she’s like the ambassador for Shinnecock Nation. And I walked up to her, told her I, I met some individual.

33:17 Eric:

Is it, is it Shana Bullock? Shana

33:19 Chef Mark:

Bullock, yep. Yeah. And she said, I can grant you permission to deliver our stuff as well, if you want. Um, the type of, the type of, uh, relationships I’m trying to cultivate are different from what New York is working on. I’m, uh, when I scream legacy, I’m like, we’re gonna break some ground. Um, and they have never interacted with anything outside of the reservation. You know, they, they have no reason to, they don’t want to. But cannabis proposed an opportunity to where it’s like, it’s about money. And if you and I have the same interests here, maybe we could work something out because they can, they have a drive through and, um, that’s it.

33:57 Chef Mark:

No, I, I don’t think they can leave outside of their territory. People have to go to the reservation and get their product, and that’s that. But, um, first I wanna get my shit together before I start helping others out. But I just love the support. You know, it’s, it’s, that’s when we were running to escape slavery, we found Native Americans in certain pockets of America, and that’s where we, we started over. And, um, to see that here today in 2023 where I’m trying to find home amongst <laugh>, the land that we all should call home, I never received the amount of support from individuals the way I’m receiving from these individuals once I cultivate that relationship.

34:37 Chef Mark:

So that’s pretty cool for me. And they also got some ball ass, but they got the best. But

34:44 Eric:

<laugh>, it’s, I mean, I know, I know there’s been, like, obviously you mentioned and, and there’s a lot of stuff that’s outta your control, right? With the, with the rollout. And, um, I think to your point, they are trying. Right? Um, I think we’re all a little bit frustrated with, with how it’s been, but I mean, it sounds like from November 21st when mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you found out you were awarded a license. Like there’s been a ton of relationships and momentum that you’ve continued to build.

35:14 Eric:

Right. And I think it’s just important to, to recognize the growth, um, all like in the midst of challenges, right? Because we all know that the cannabis industry is, is really challenging, um, in, in all states, right? And I think it’s, it’s still really cool to see like, you know, two years ago we weren’t even having these types of conversations, and that’s not that long ago, right? And so, so, uh, but it’s really cool to see how you guys continue to push the barriers and like you said, to to be heard. Um, and, and not being afraid to, to voice, you know, what your thoughts are.

35:47 Eric:

And it sounds like people, whether they’re able to actually execute, they’re willing to listen. Um, and, and that’s the first step. And so, um, you know, I, I do have fate that it, it, over the next year or two, um, I hope it’ll be a different conversation, you know? Yeah,

36:07 Chef Mark:

Yeah. The, um, I threatened, uh, I guess I, I, I started crying. I’m, I’m gonna sell this shit to <inaudible> to laba. And she’s like, whoa, there’s other options. We really don’t have to go through that. I’m like, well, we’re listening. Like, like, tell us something. Um, ’cause it seems like we don’t have any, um, and it’s, it’s a plane that’s in the sky and they’re trying to build it <laugh> while there’s a recession. While there’s a war. And <laugh>, I wanna know if I could get Bitcoin, uh, ’cause I can’t find a bank.

36:38 Chef Mark:

So there’s a lot going on. But, um, I think I trust, I trust that everyone has the same, uh, intention to get it, get it going, and make it work. And we, we, we will get there soon enough.

36:52 Eric:

That’s awesome. But no, we, we really appreciate you being on here today. This has been, this has been an awesome one. Um, and, and congratulations again on getting the license.

37:02 Chef Mark:

How often? Yeah,

37:03 Eric:

We’re just, we’re trying to just elevate, elevate people in the industry and, um, you know, continue. I think what one of the cool things we we’re trying to do is just get people from a lot of different backgrounds and, you know, that all have their, their certain place in the industry and getting their perspective and trying to like, you know, elevate their story. Um, and, and so this has been an awesome one and we really appreciate the time and it’s been, uh, and we’re excited to see where it goes. Um, and, and look back on this a year from now and, and see where you guys are then.

37:36 Eric:

I’m sure it’ll be, uh, pretty.

37:37 Chef Mark:

I’ll say Ill, I think give, give us, give us another four months. We, we, we should be making, making some sales.

37:45 Eric:

Alright, we’re checking on you. Yeah. Yeah. Alright guys, we really appreciate your time. This has been awesome and have a great day. All right. Thank you.

37:53 Isaac:

Appreciate you both. Thank you.

37:56 Eric:

I think that was our, that was our first one with, uh, with a New York applicant. Um, and I, obviously you and I, Isaac are, are based in New York and, and we kind of see what’s going on and, and have our ears to the ground, but really cool to get a firsthand experience and really see what it takes, you know, um, and the amount of resiliency and just taking no for an, like, not taking no for an answer, you know what I mean? No, for

38:23 Isaac:

Sure. I think, um, I think those two are a really cool story. And, um, you know, like we kind of talked about, you know, chef Mark’s background and everything. I mean, he is a very, uh, intuitive guy. The way he, he turns bad situations into positive and finds a, a different way to look at it and approach it to make things successful is a, you know, it’s a really good skill to have in this industry. ’cause obviously nothing comes easy, so Yeah. Um, I’m, I’m sure they’re gonna be very successful and hopefully, um, you know, them and the rest of the, the applicants in the state can start having some success.

38:57 Eric:

Yeah, and I think I, I mean, when the, when the regulations came out and we saw that, you know, you had to have a prior, you know, conviction in your immediate vertical and, you know, we all, you know, some people were scratching their heads, some people really liked it. And I think that was like a prime example of why the social equity initiative is awesome. Um, and giving, you know, chef Mark a, a platform, um, and access to a license, given his background and, you know, what he’s been able to build post-incarceration and, and what he’s done for the community is literally like, I feel like just, uh, an awesome role model, um, for the card association as well as just the, the industry as a whole.

39:39 Isaac:

Oh, absolutely. I think it was, uh, it’s a great story and, uh, you know, hoping that they have continued success and can, uh, you know, get things going pretty quickly here.

39:49 Eric:

A hundred percent, man. And, uh, another, another unique experience that we have on the Roots to risk and, and hopefully it’s providing additional content, um, you know, for our viewers that is, uh, is helpful in understanding just people’s perspectives in the industry. And depending on where you sit, it may be a little different, but at the end of the day, we’re all pushing this thing forward and, uh, trying to build a, a better cannabis industry.

40:15 Isaac:

Absolutely.

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