Cannabis Conversations: Navigating the Industry Landscape with Jake Kuczeruk from Tenacious Labs

Cannabis Conversations: Navigating the Industry Landscape with Jake Kuczeruk from Tenacious Labs

Join us in this insightful episode with Jake Kuczeruk from Tenacious Labs where Eric and Isaac dive into the intricate world of cannabis business development, consultancy, and manufacturing. Jake, a seasoned professional, shares his journey from consulting to joining Tenacious Labs and sheds light on the evolving cannabis landscape. The conversation touches on global market opportunities, quality standards, the marriage of tech and cannabis, and the unique challenges faced by the California cannabis market. Discover the exciting innovations and growth strategies shaping the future of this dynamic 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. What is going on ib? How we feeling today, brother?

00:32 Eric:

I’m

00:32 Isaac:

Good. E you know, I got to see you this morning, even though we’re back now at our apartments for recording time. So it was a, it was a good day. You miss

00:38 Eric:

Me. You miss me a little

00:40 Isaac:

Bit, A little bit. You miss me <laugh>,

00:43 Eric:

But, um, awesome. One on deck. Jake Zurich. I get, I, I, why don’t you give me the, the names. I, I, why don’t you give me the names? You know, you’re a Upen guy. Much more polished. You should introduce the, the, the last names. Uh, I apologize, Jake, if I butchered that. We’re super excited to have you on here. Um, we, we’ve known Jake for a while here, um, through the Arcview Group. He’s a super connector, right?

01:14 Eric:

He, he really knows everybody in the space. He’s got an awesome spirit, um, awesome energy about him that I think is, is very organic, genuine, and, uh, draws people around him. And, and we’ve had the luxury to know him for quite some time. I would say call him a friend and excited to have him on here.

01:32 Isaac:

No, for sure. And I think Jake was, uh, definitely one of the first early supporters of ours. You know, he helped us get a lot of the intros and get going with, um, you know, our, our previous relationship with the Arcview group and, you know, really helped us grow within the industry and make a lot of good connections for you and I. So yeah, I would, I would definitely say he is a friend and, um, has provided a lot of benefits to us on the professional side as well.

01:55 Eric:

What’s going on, Jake? How we doing today?

02:00 Jake:

Doing pretty good. Happy 4 21.

02:02 Isaac:

Yeah. Big day yesterday for everyone.

02:04 Eric:

This’ll be coming out on a, on a later on a later date, but we’ll be, we’ll be good. I like the haircut.

02:12 Jake:

Yeah. Thank you. You know, trying to get a little bit more professional as I get a little bit of gray in my

02:18 Isaac:

Temples. There’s no gray there yet, <laugh>.

02:23 Jake:

Oh, there definitely is. Yeah. Come on. A couple years in the

02:25 Eric:

Cannabis industry, you know, she’s not, never a bad thing, you know,

02:30 Jake:

<laugh> awesome. Yeah, my wife’s fine with it, so I’ll

02:32 Eric:

Take it. Um, but Cool. Jake, no, really appreciate you, uh, you jumping on here today and, and we’ve known each other for quite some time and no, you’re, you’re super dedicated to the cannabis space and very connected. I feel like there’s, there’s not an individual that you’re probably not one connection away from, but we’d love to just learn a little bit more about your background and provide some context for the community on, you know, past experience as well as what you’re, what you’re up to today.

03:01 Jake:

Yeah, it’s been, uh, quite the career. Uh, you know, I, I grew up in the Midwest and, you know, cannabis was my favorite thing in the world, but pretty hard to get involved with it there. Um, so I moved to California after graduating Indiana University. Did a bunch of things in tech. Uh, had a couple of my own companies go through 500 startups Accelerator program. Um, and along the way I benefited immensely from people, mentors, advisors, you know, a little bit of their time, a little bit of their connections could really make or break your, uh, your future. Um, so throughout my career, I’ve always really strived to, to pay it forward and, and share that guidance and connect people where I can.

03:37 Jake:

Um, but for me, you know, I, uh, I’ve been in cannabis for, for quite some time. Uh, you know, I think the first official foray on the, uh, regulated side was my work with the Arcview Group, um, back in Detroit, Dayton, Steve D’Angelo days through Entourage Effect Capital, through Kim Kovac, through Jeff Finkel.

03:56 Jake:

Um, so yeah, quite the stint over there leading business development and of course, uh, spinning up the consultancy. Um, so got to work on a, a ton of different projects. Everything from dispensaries to major enterprise companies. Um, and it took last year off to consult. Um, I liked doing the actual consulting work more than, uh, selling it, um, which allowed me to work with, you know, pre-roll company, genetics company, see different sides of the industry on the supply chain operation side. Um, and I started, you know, 2023 now working with Tenacious Labs, uh, in the manufacturing space.

04:30 Jake:

Um, so needless to say, it’s, it’s been quite the journey and, um, you know, always looking for other opportunities to, to get out there and, and meet new people and, uh, that, you know, help

04:40 Isaac:

Advance startup. We, uh, we obviously met through the connection at Arcview back when, uh, Eric and I were still operating under the Founder Shield name. So we’ve, we’ve gotten to, you’ve gotten to see our full, uh, maturation as well. But, you know, given all of the, you know, cool things you’ve been involved with, like, what kinda led to your decision with joining Tenacious? I know you and I have spoken a lot over the last two years, so definitely curious to hear, you know, a little bit more about like, what that process looked like and what, what tenacious, you know, caught your eye with.

05:10 Jake:

Yeah, I, I had known these guys for years from their K J L SS Z M era. Um, and when they were acquired by Tenacious Labs out of the uk, um, you know, I took notice and, you know, we kept checking in every couple months. Um, there was a guy over there, Zach, uh, that always felt like I’d be a great addition to the team. Um, so over time, you know, I let ’em know I’m interested. I’m still keeping an eye out, but the more I started to get started speaking with members of the team, they had just poached the C F O over from Charlotte’s Web, which I thought was a really good signal. Um, but to me, the decision to, to get into manufacturing was, you know, wasn’t an easy one.

05:45 Jake:

But <laugh>, I’ve loved it so far, <laugh>, it’s a different, different side of the industry.

05:51 Jake:

Um, you know, it’s all the hassle of trying to get a product into, uh, to retail doesn’t exist, uh, all the hassle and, and having to deal with the, uh, the capital raising side doesn’t really exist. Uh, for those who don’t know Tenacious Labs is, is, you know, funded and founded by the Bacardi family. Um, so that gives us, you know, a little bit more stability. Um, you know, I don’t have to constantly be worried about when our next round is gonna kick off. And, um, so for me, you know, I, I saw the opportunity, especially given their focus on the international side. Um, you know, there’s a bigger picture here to be the manufacturer from everything from C B D C B D to one day, potentially M D M A, you know, at a global scale and, you know, uh, a group that can see that grand vision and know what pieces need to be in place, especially on the mergers and acquisition side.

06:37 Jake:

Um, it just checks all the right boxes for me, and I get to go to Colorado

06:41 Isaac:

When I, when I move out, we’ll get to, uh, get to see each other in person a little bit more often, <laugh>.

06:49 Jake:

Oh, that’d be fantastic. I, I feel like, you know, it’s, it’s no excuse, but I haven’t skied in years

06:53 Isaac:

Thinking, we’ll, we’ll do an fruit trip now that I’m based. I’ll be based out there come next winter. So we’ll do a little ski trip. <laugh>,

07:02 Eric:

I haven’t,

07:02 Jake:

I’m gonna hold you to it. I was

07:03 Eric:

About eight years old, so I

07:04 Isaac:

Don’t know. Neither have I, I’m from there and I barely have skied lately, so <laugh>. That’s

07:09 Eric:

Wild. I don’t know. That’s crazy. Um, so Jake, like, what are you most focused on, would you say over the next 12 to 24 months, like at Tenacious Labs in terms of, you know, different growth strategies or, or product development? What, what’s, what’s your main focus? What’s the organization’s main focus?

07:28 Jake:

Well, anybody who’s been in cannabis knows that at this point, there’s been so much cut into consolidation and there’s so much competition that, you know, you gotta find points of differentiation to stand out. So, you know, at tenacious, you know, we offer in-house r and d in formulation because look, people are coming in no matter what they’re trying to get. They wanna make some small tweaks versus what else is in there in the market. They want to be adding different minor cannabinoids. They want to be potentially messing around with functional mushrooms, nootropics, adaptogens, um, trying to build a better mousetrap versus the, the C B D products and stuff we’ve seen over the last couple years. Same thing on the T H C side, you know, people are innovating.

08:01 Jake:

We just produced a T H C spray that you spray your joints, add a little bit extra kick to it.

08:06 Jake:

Um, so yeah, in general, you know, it’s, it’s about finding, uh, finding those points of differentiation, um, and being able to help, uh, you know, brands, you know, move into these, these new areas. Um, you know, also, you know, we’re big on the beverage side, and this is a category that’s obviously starting to really explode. We’re seeing a lot of C B D companies jumping in. We’re seeing cannabis company, you know, cannabis, t h c companies that are completely abandoning their cannabis t h C strategy in favor of going entirely hemp nine, you know, and increasing their TAM and spinning up D two C in, in different states now.

08:39 Jake:

So, you know, because of where we’re at in the la what the last couple years have looked, looked like, you know, we’re seeing a bunch of C B D companies start to pivot their strategy. Bunch of cannabis D h C companies start to pivot their strategy and whole new, uh, organizations spin up, especially within things like, like functional mushrooms. Um, so, you know, it’s a, it’s definitely an exciting time and I’m always gonna be on the lookout for new acquisitions for us. Uh, we just acquired Cytech, uh, which is, is, you know, Israeli r and d owns a couple C B D brands. Um, so things on the supply chain side, the r and d side.

09:11 Jake:

That’s

09:12 Isaac:

Awesome. I mean, I think, you know, ’cause you guys have the international exposure, you know, what areas across the globe are you guys most excited about? Um, you know, across the different verticals you’re working in. If you, if you can share based off of the, the little smirk there. <laugh>,

09:26 Jake:

I can’t, of course I can. Yeah, well, SAG gives us a little bit of a footprint in Israel and, uh, in South America with Brazil and even some in South Africa. But, um, what, what personally has me the most excited is Japan. Um, I just read a great article about the four 20 celebrations that have been happening over there. Um, seeing, you know, both, both Thailand and Japan starting to participate in this economy is, is my favorite thing in the world. <laugh>. Um, so yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to go over there. Um, you know, given we’re Bacardi owned, I know that, you know, our main guy’s looking for a Japanese whiskey to acquire.

10:02 Jake:

So maybe I can kind of merge the two trick to that.

10:04 Isaac:

<laugh>.

10:06 Jake:

Yeah, it’s, yeah, seeing a lot of growth and, you know, I’m, I’m, you know, my finger of course in tenacious labs is always thinking to the uk, always thinking to Europe, uh, given it’s in our backyard. Um, and I’m excited to see what happens with Mexico. You know, I thought the zebra OSA that’s starting to spin up down there. Um, so I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye. What,

10:25 Eric:

What are some main differences that you’ve seen? Like obviously you have a lot of experience in the US market, like maybe culturally or functionally to, to other markets that you guys are involved in?

10:41 Jake:

Yeah. Well, there’s, there’s plenty of differences. Um, but you know, what’s really interesting is the similarities. It seems like, you know, watching, you know, Switzerland, you know, oh, we’re gonna play around with minor cannabinoids. H H C is super popular, and then what, two weeks ago, eh, we’re gonna cut it off. Um, you know, starting to see them, uh, move away, move away from C b D flower into other form factors and stuff like that, and the growing pains watching, you know, Germany debate over how they’re gonna approach their medical program and, and recreational program. I think, you know, there’s a lot to learn there and there’s a lot they can learn from us and, and our own struggles to get this, to get this to market.

11:16 Jake:

Um, but, you know, I’d say the the biggest thing that, that, you know, really changes with these international markets, I mean, Japan is, is case in point.

11:23 Jake:

You know, there’s, there’s a lot of tips and tricks you have to know to navigate that market. A lot of the right permits, a lot of the right supply chain partners, a lot of the right distribution partners that, you know, when you’re dealing with companies that are hundreds of year, hundreds of years old that are now getting into the production of, of cannabis products, um, you know, it’s, it’s different hoops to jump through. So, you know, all in all, I, I do love seeing things like novel foods, even if they are a little bit of a roadblock in my ability to take over the world. Um, <laugh>, the, uh, you know, these having, you know, you know, municipalities and, and, you know, countries out there that are adhering to quality standards really warms my heart.

12:01 Jake:

You know, there’s too much bad product out there. And, you know, as long as we can, you know, as a, as a globe make a conservative effort towards, you know, towards quality standards,

12:09 Isaac:

It’s because we did, uh, we did podcasts with Gil Ellsworth from, uh, Willow Industries, you know, a few days ago. Um, and so we talked a lot about the quality standard. So what do you guys focus on from a quality perspective at the tenacious lab side? Like what’s the main focus as it relates to that side of things?

12:26 Jake:

Oh, sure. Well, you know, given who our ownership is, we know we have to be very careful about, you know, jumping through all the right hoops, especially given where taxes are paid in this situation. So for us, we’re f d A, we’re g p, we’re NSF congrats. We just passed our NSF audit last week, which was a big, big under, um, but you know, now we can, you know, move forward with NSF sport and start working with some of these companies trying to attack sponsoring with the M L B. Um, and you know, as I said earlier, the way, you know, competition is picked up and, you know, the need for points of differentiation, you know, advertising with the M L B is becoming a very legit strategy.

13:04 Jake:

Um, so ultimately, you know, we’re gonna be collecting certifications like they’re the infinity stones. Um, you know, I think Halals probably up Halals probably up next. Um, you know, we we’re very interested in the oppor market opportunity there, especially with regards to, you know, the interest in, in C B D beverages, um, you know, within the Muslim. Oh, that’s

13:23 Isaac:

Really cool. The, the N Ss F sport thing is like really interesting, obviously for Eric and I having been former athletes. I just remember, uh, you know, when going, getting ready for a drill lacrosse event, seeing the list of, uh, band substances and cannabinoids were on there, and I was like, well, that’s literally my job. So that’s kind of tough. But, um, you know, with the M L B and then the N B A coming out and the last couple weeks saying that, you know, their players can be involved with companies and advertising, like, do you think that’s gonna be a major factor in moving this forward, particularly in the US given how prominent sports are here?

13:59 Jake:

Absolutely. Yeah. I think we’re gonna do, we’re just scratching the surface on the big celebrity endorsements and team endorsements and player endorsements. Um, you know, and in general it’s just, you know, I love the fact that N S F built out an app that’s essentially a marketplace for N S F products, allowing athletes to quickly know, you know, which is, you know, gonna be a, a proper medicine for them. Um, so with, for me, um, yeah, it’s gonna be interesting to, to watch that, to continue to, to progress.

14:23 Eric:

It is pretty crazy that ca like, there’s just a million other things that are so much worse for, for athletes, um, than cannabis, and it’s still some that’s, um, yeah,

14:37 Jake:

Pumping people up with thousands of dollars of opiates on a, a daily basis, you know, and, and making ’em take head hits, you know, dozens of times every Sunday afternoon, but, oh God, a little bit of CBD ball. Yeah, I don’t,

14:49 Isaac:

That’ll we’ll shoot you up with Toradol every, every, you know, every half, but you No, no cannabis for you <laugh>.

14:58 Jake:

Yeah, and I think the, the M L B, or sorry, the N B A is, um, we’ve already seen a lot of players active on the investment front, and, you know, I think it’s gonna lead to a lot of buzz in the locker room, you know, how can we get involved in some of those projects? You know, there’s been players that have been at it for years and, you know, probably have had to keep it pretty under wraps, but now they can start to tell the buddy in the locker next to them that, you know, Hey, I got a great opportunity to come in outta cultivation over in Minnesota, you know.

15:22 Eric:

How has it been for you transitioning from consulting and going on to the operator side? Like, what are, what are maybe some things that you’ve gained from an experience perspective over the past three years that you’re really, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> utilizing in your current role?

15:40 Jake:

Yeah. Well, I mean, certainly my network <laugh>, um, but, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of things I like to do and, uh, on, on kind of the team management side, um, you know, that I’ve learned over my career. Like, one thing I really like that I’ve absolutely stolen from Troy Dayton of Arcview, um, but I’ll give them all the props in the world for coming up with it. Um, even my wife stole this template and started using it at, in, in, in tech actually now. But, uh, on Friday mornings we’ll do a team all hands, or maybe every other week we’ll get everybody on, can be harder for us with the UK team. They have to join in at the end of their day.

16:10 Jake:

Um, but, you know, everyone goes around and says, you know, an appreciation for a coworker, um, you know, someone who’s really knocking it outta the park, a milestone, you know, a big accomplishment from the week, a blocker, you know, if there’s anything that’s standing in the way of, of moving forward and then a celebration.

16:25 Jake:

So highlighting something fun in your personal life that you’re doing this week, and, you know, I find that, you know, being out of consulting and really building a team, um, there’s a lot of value in, in helping kind of drive that culture. You know, I think in, in cannabis, it’s, it’s incredibly important, especially if you have a distributed team that doesn’t get to sit down with each other. I mean, you work better if you, you know, you see the other person as a human, you know, not just as an email, uh, or a Slack message. So

16:51 Eric:

Yeah, we, we do that as well on Monday as we do goals both personally and professionally. Um, and it’s cool because I think, you know, running a business and you’re, you’re, you’re, whether it’s, you know, you’re an employee or running a company, right? Like what you do on a daily basis is such a, it’s such a important part of your daily routine, your life, right? So it’s important to have, I feel like those relationships, you know, I probably spend more time with Isaac than I do with my wife, <laugh>, you know, and, and so, so it’s important to really, you know, I think get to know your coworkers and, and build that culture, right?

17:30 Eric:

And, and especially now, you know, I think more than ever, it’s, it’s definitely challenging to build and maintain culture, especially with the amount of, you know, virtual employees, right. And especially with you guys being based in the uk. So that’s awesome that you, you’re trying to, to maintain that community, uh, within the organization is important.

17:54 Jake:

Yeah. I mean, especially with new acquisitions, new team members want to get brought into the fold. I mean, having people dial in from Israel, you know, at the same time there’s people from the uk, same time people in Denver, same time I’m in LA like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty right. It’s pretty cool, uh, to be part of something like that, but, you know, that’s where the world is.

18:11 Isaac:

No, I think, um, Jake, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, and you know, we’ve talked in the past about this is just like the marriage between tech and cannabis and like, there’s so much room for growth, especially on potentially the blockchain side and ai. Like, what are your thoughts on where we could potentially go on that front and what are you guys doing a tenacious on that side of things? <laugh>?

18:34 Jake:

Oh, we’re not doing too much on that front. I mean, the only thing we’re like, what I’m, I’ve been, you know, freaking out over is going to these conferences and seeing the guys use, you know, con computer vision and drones, you know, that can scan cultivation fields and, you know, use, you know, be able to detect male plants or bugs or anything else. Um, you know, there’s, there’s, you know, always our, our, you know, innovation happening in this space. But, you know, I always geek out about the stuff that pertains more towards the cultivation side. Um, yeah, I mean, AI’s being used for product recommendations, and I think that’s an important part of the piece.

19:06 Jake:

As we mature as an industry, it allows us to, you know, get on the same level that you’d find in any other, you know, e-commerce <laugh>. Um, but you know, with us, um, you know, ai ml, um, blockchain stuff with track and trace, I think is, is certainly gonna be interesting to me.

19:23 Jake:

I’m always a little bit skeptical having worked in that field, um, when blockchain’s being applied <laugh>. It’s just like, is this just a buzzword that you think is gonna attract more investors, uh, or is this actually using, you know, distributed ledger technology? And, um, you know, in many cases I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen and in, I think, you know, the, um, it has me really excited for the future. You know, if you can use blockchain to track, you know, missiles being shipped from by the Department of Defense, from a base to a carrier out in the middle of the ocean, it’s probably pretty important to be able to track, you know, cannabis coming from, you know, Ecuador to open.

19:56 Isaac:

No, I think, I think that’s really cool. And I mean, to your point, I think, uh, a lot of people, especially in the last few years, were using it as buzzwords when there was a lot of buzzwords going around in both the cannabis and the, uh, web three industries. So, um, I think everything that two industries are going through right now is hopefully, hopefully wheeling some of that stuff out.

20:17 Jake:

Yeah. What excites me the most is if we can use AI to really determine which cannabinoids are able to create certain reactions. Like, you know, being able to look at the data as people report how it’s affecting them, and distill it down to, oh, you know, maybe it is a misconception that C V N puts you to sleep. Maybe it actually wakes you up a little bit. I think the, there, you know, I’ve, I’ve heard that argument before. I think in many cases, you know, we’re just scratching the surface and, you know, there’s different minor cannabinoids that are starting to hit the market that, you know, aren’t just C B G and C B C is even starting to move.

20:48 Jake:

Um, but ones like t h d, you know, that can melt away a hangover, you know, <laugh>, which I’m sure is good for a lot of people the day after four 20 <laugh>. Uh, but it’s, uh, you know, it’s a wild world out there. And, you know, I think the experimentation we’re seeing with all genetics, including old school, land, race strains, I mean, we’re only gonna get better and better at dial dialing in, uh, medicine that’s, that’s really targeted towards certain ailments using cannabis.

21:13 Isaac:

I got nothing else to add. No, that’s awesome. The <laugh>. No, I mean, I think, Jake, the, the kind of last major thing I wanted to hit on is with you being based in LA and just like overall sentiment in California right now, like how, how are you feeling? I know how how’s your vast network of, you know, fellow cannabis, uh, workers and entrepreneurs feeling about where the, the state is and where it’s going and what, what the next 12 to 18 months are gonna look like there?

21:42 Jake:

Sure. You know, there’s, there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there and, you know, especially in, in, you know, conferences, you know, you, you hear a lot of people talk about it, but, you know, I see it a different way, and a lot of people in my network do as well. I think, you know, there’s been, you know, a reckoning in the last couple years and it’s really thinned out the herd and only the people that are, you know, most serious about this, um, you know, largely remain. So, you know, I, I love going to a conference now and, and not just, you know, talking to somebody who’s kicking the tires and, you know, still trying to figure out what they’re doing in this space. I mean, everyone you talk to is, Hey, I’m looking to connect with, connect with X, Y, and Z, you know, I’m here to meet this person.

22:17 Jake:

I’m here to talk to, you know, here to advance this and learn more about this. Um, that, that just helps us run more efficiently as an industry. Um, that said, I mean, come on, there’s, there’s, California has obviously gone through, you know, an insane amount of growing pains, um, you know, but at the same time, you know, have never been more encouraged, you know, by the, the spirit, you know, I’d say of those who are in it. And, um, you know, I think expansion is becoming a big focus. I mean, there are companies moving into new states, you know, every single day. Um, there are companies moving into new form factors every single day.

22:51 Jake:

And, you know, ultimately, um, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than than Los Angeles and California in general. I think no matter what side of cannabis you’re on, wherever you work on it, at some point you’re gonna have to come through la might be a conference, might be a single meeting, um, but there’s a real strategic advantage in, in being here.

23:08 Isaac:

Definitely. Good to hear some positivity come outta California right now. <laugh>.

23:15 Jake:

Yeah, there, it, it’s, you know, I’m, I’m hearing positivity everywhere at the end of the day. And, you know, if you read just comments and things online, it’s the same thing as looking at celebrity news or movie news. You know, it’s gonna be, you know, a lot of people who are the loudest ones in the room barking about what’s wrong, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of people who go and work at nine to five in cannabis and have a great work-life balance and have a 4 0 1 k they’re working on. And, you know, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s rapidly is becoming a, um, you know, I’d say a much more traditional industry for better or worse.

23:46 Jake:

Um, but, you know, the one thing I’m most concerned with is that we don’t, we don’t lose our edge and we end up becoming, you know, just another, another arm of, you know, c p g, another arm of, you know, cult, you know, agriculture. Um, you know, I think that’s evidenced in things like, you know, the events last night for four 20, you know, you have a lot of people there who you can see it. Um, this is what they’re most passionate about. They believe in the power of the plant, and, you know, it doesn’t feel like networking. It just feels like going out there and meeting like-minded individuals. And if there’s a way to help each other. We had

24:16 Eric:

An, uh, we had an event last night, Jake, at our office. Um, it was awesome. Yeah, I heard it was the card applicants and like 14 of the most prominent cultivators in New York, and they all had, like, the cultivators came, they had their like booths essentially, like little tables, tons of product. Yeah. But like, to your point, everybody was just like building relationships, right? And then the work like comes after the fact. And I think that’s such a cool thing because it’s not very transactional, right?

24:49 Eric:

And I think, you know, people, people in this industry, what I’ve found, you know, from being involved is that people can see through the bullshit pretty quickly. Um, and it’s important to Yeah, sift that out, you know, early on and, and really surround yourself with people that are in it for the long haul. And, and not always just thinking about me, me, me, how can I continue to, to elevate myself, but like, how can I give back?

25:16 Eric:

Um, and how can I continue to help others, right? And something that’s you super connected in this space, you know, that’s, that’s obviously how, how you’ve built it, right? You know, and, and build your own personal brand is by constantly like, how can I help others? Right? And, and it all comes back full circle. And, you know, we, we try to replicate that, you know, in, in seeing you early on and how you navigated and your network. It was, it was awesome to see and how you continue to grow that. Um, and, and something that we aspire to, to try to be like, so <laugh>,

25:50 Jake:

Oh, it’s Aspire, come on, you guys are already there. You guys have been there.

25:55 Speaker: 4:

I appreciate that. Genuinely,

25:57 Eric:

I think you’re great people. Um, and, and that’s why people gravitate towards you and, and you really try to help people out first and foremost. And, you know, at the end of the day you continue to help people bout, and I believe karma’s a real thing. Um, and it could be a bitch if he goes the other way, <laugh>. So, um,

26:15 Speaker: 4:

That’s true. No,

26:17 Jake:

Your, your, your team, you know, shout out, you know, vert Flower Hire, tenacious Labs, garden House brands. I think there’s a couple teams out there and, and you know, certainly not, not just limited to those, our TE’s Crane, um, that have a, a real culture I think of, of celebrating your employees, of giving back, being good stewards of the community. Um, you know, and I think there’s, there’s nothing more important, but yeah. Let me, let me, let me Tarantino the interview a little, a little bit and flip it on you guys. You had a great event last night, but who really stood out?

26:47 Jake:

Who did, who, who, who at that event was doing it, right? You know, either just as a team or you just absolutely love their products.

26:54 Isaac:

Hmm. Christina was not there was Christina

26:57 Jake:

There? How’s Puff?

26:59 Eric:

Um,

27:01 Jake:

Ah,

27:02 Eric:

Jason, uh, Jason and I’m blanking on the last, he’s always cool. Last name. Jason and Brittany, who are the leaders and co-founders of the Card Association. Um, and, and who really got everybody together, like their genuine passion Sure. Um, was just tremendous. And like how they actually just really care about bringing everybody, get everybody together and like making sure that card applicants and social equity applicants have like, true representation, um, and defending them, like truthfully against like people that are predatory.

27:36 Eric:

Um, which is something that they ha like even even at the event, it was funny, you know, typically like sponsors or like, can I get, you know, the email list or, or whomever it was of those contacts. They’re like, we don’t really like to give it out because we don’t want people to get taken advantage of. And, uh, I think like they’re, I’m just blanking on their last names. Jason and Brittany. I know they have kids three and five live in Rochester.

28:01 Isaac:

No, they were, they were great though. I mean, I know when Eric and I were speaking to Brittany in particular, like, just about our product offering, it was, uh, it was fun. It felt like we were almost getting interviewed to see if we were proper, uh, you know, people to be helping, you know, steward these individuals and their, their business endeavors and everything. So it was cool. I I really respect what they’re building and doing for the Canvas community here.

28:24 Eric:

Yeah. And they’re, you know, ’cause ’cause obviously a lot of these applicants have to go through Dasny and they have their own host of issues. Um, and I think like the cards just doing a great job of being that additional support, um, and, and guidance that a lot of, you know, the newer applicants that never run a dispensary, you know what I mean? And, and what’s the infrastructure look like and how do you run a profitable business, right? And, and all of those things that, that come with operating a dispensary, you know, you can give someone a license, but you know, you, you also need to, to teach them how to fish.

29:01 Eric:

Right. And I think that they do a great job of, of doing that, um, and, and being a resource. So that, that was what stood out to me. The product was great. Um, I forget exactly the

29:14 Isaac:

4 21 Brain is going on on the sug of the, the interview right now. I,

29:19 Jake:

I had, um, oh no, that’s the beauty of the podcast. You can just, you can just reedit

29:23 Eric:

It later. This company, this company had this product Weeded Water, which was really, really interesting. Ooh. And it really was like weeded water. It was, it almost tasted like you were drinking a joint but didn’t have like, the smoky flavor, but it wasn’t like sweet like a beverage. The

29:41 Isaac:

Grapefruit was really interesting. The grapefruit flavors very, yeah.

29:44 Jake:

Like, yeah, yeah. Yeahs, or,

29:50 Isaac:

It’s kind of hard to describe like the text, like, it seems weird saying the word texture when it comes to a beverage, but like, it have a unique texture, almost mouth feel. There we go. <laugh> mouth.

30:01 Jake:

Mouth carbonated. Come on. This is all widened.

30:04 Eric:

I think there was a lot of awesome products there last night, so it was, it was kind of hard to uh,

30:09 Jake:

Sure.

30:10 Eric:

I mean, you have to sample, you know, I had to sample it thing,

30:13 Jake:

It was a great example

30:14 Eric:

To make sure it’s not poisonous, you know, God forbid I’m, yeah. How am I gonna do that as a host if I don’t, if I’m not looking out for the people there? So I had to sample some products and

30:24 Jake:

It’s, it’s

30:24 Eric:

Your duty. What about today?

30:27 Speaker: 5:

<laugh>,

30:27 Jake:

<laugh>, the cross, you bear, I don’t know how you do it. Um,

30:29 Eric:

It was honestly, Jake, like, we’ve been at hall of, it was like last night was like hall of flowers. If you could just literally walk up to a booth and smoke immediately <laugh>, you know what I mean? Like, it was pretty cool. It was

30:41 Jake:

Awesome. Yeah. That sounds sounds pretty fun. Yeah, it was. Uh, I use a little bit more of that in my

30:45 Eric:

Life. It was, it was really cool to have everybody, you know, gathering. We’re gonna try to do just more and more events at our space. And I think that’s a way that we can give back to the community because New York real estate is super fricking expensive, and typically it’s like tens of thousands of dollars to just walk into the door. So if we can provide, you know, a really cool space to gather people at a, a low cost, you know, especially for like the Card Association, you know, we wanna be able to provide that and, and give back. So it’s, uh, it was really cool. And we got two events next week.

31:17 Jake:

My frequent flyer miles, my frequent flyer miles program. Thanks you, because I absolutely have

31:22 Isaac:

To come out. Of course, Jake, you’re always welcome. You know that <laugh>. Um, but

31:27 Eric:

Before, before we hop off here, Jake Isaac’s got some fastballs for you. Yeah.

31:31 Isaac:

So some fun, kind. All right. What’s, uh, what’s at the, the top of the music playlist these days? The, the one song that’s getting you going in the morning?

31:44 Jake:

The one song that’s getting me going is a weird one. It is the song AM 180 and it’s from 28 days later. And it’s this weird British one that’s kind of, but for some reason it just is. It’s very like, morning Get up. You know? So that one’s been a GoTo on my, I don’t wanna say different name, <laugh>.

32:03 Eric:

Yes,

32:03 Jake:

It’s, but it’s a good movie. It’s got great, it

32:05 Isaac:

Gets, gets you fired up.

32:10 Jake:

They’re working on, uh, away run away from zombie months later, which they, uh, there’s been some updates. Yeah. Well, I mean, come on. You guys know me. I’m a big horror guy, so anything that’s tied to horror is, is gonna get I love it. I love it. It’s gonna be

32:21 Isaac:

Hitting the right. Um, next one. What’s, uh, what’s one book that you would recommend everyone re or one that you’ve turned back to a bunch of times?

32:32 Jake:

Uh, I mean, moving to LA I, I just worked my way through all the Bread East and Ellis novels again. Um, just because it’s the most la thing of all time, uh, in his newest book. The Shards, um, was really good. It was, you know, a little bit long compared to some of his other ones, um, you know, which let him really <laugh> add his signature detail into every single thing he’s observing. Um, but no, it was another good horror killer. You know, it’s, it’s very on point for everything. He’s, uh, he’s written, so the shards Ready Spinella what just

33:02 Eric:

Podcast, podcast was, what was that podcast bar that we went to in

33:06 Isaac:

La

33:06 Eric:

Is that West Hollywood?

33:07 Isaac:

Yeah, that would, yeah,

33:10 Jake:

<laugh>. Oh, the, uh, the Rainbow Room. Yes. Yeah, the, the Blue. She had his last meal there and Lemi and as the, uh, statue and everything. Yeah. That’s, that’s one of the few places that speaks for

33:22 Isaac:

Cannabis. Yeah. I would say that there was a decent amount of Canvas consumed at, at that meeting. <laugh>. Yeah. Hang on. Yeah. Um, well, what’s our Dropbox? Cool. Last one. What’s, uh, what’s your favorite restaurant?

33:38 Jake:

Oh, you’re killing me with that first

33:39 Eric:

One that pops into your head.

33:41 Jake:

I mean, buddy’s Pizza, Detroit, Michigan, you know, come on. The birthplace of Square Pizza and the best that exists. D uh, Cal La specifically has been getting hard into Detroit Pizza. They did. There’s a Detroit Pizza company, there’s Purgatory Pizza, there’s like Square Pie guys or something like that. So ultimately, um, you know, it’s, it’s really warms my heart that people are starting to realize that Detroit South Pizza is a cut above every other, uh,

34:07 Isaac:

I, new

34:08 Eric:

Joes and Pat in the East Village is something to say about that. And Ruby Roaster.

34:13 Isaac:

We’ll,

34:14 Jake:

Well love it. I’ll have to make a date of it. And, uh, I won Compare,

34:17 Isaac:

I’ll say Lion, tiger and Squares, which is right near where Eric and I live. I don’t know if he has been there, but that place is very good. Yeah. You can’t eat really more than one Emmy Square.

34:26 Eric:

Emily too. Yeah, Emily too. Emmy Square.

34:30 Isaac:

Um,

34:32 Jake:

Yeah, see you’re trapped now it’s starting to maybe

34:34 Isaac:

I’ll that, maybe I’ll do that

34:36 Jake:

Brain

34:36 Isaac:

Since Sarah’s gone. Brain can be a little bit, a little bit unhealthy. Do whatever I wanna do. But, um, awesome. Jake, we really appreciate the time. Thank you for jumping on with us and appreciate it as always. That was a great one. I mean, I think Jake has, uh, a lot of very interesting experiences within the space and it’s really cool what they’re building over at Tenacious Labs.

34:57 Eric:

Yeah. Especially them having the, the backing of the Bacardi family and it being centralized in the uk but like looking at global expansion, I think that’s really cool. ’cause obviously a lot of, of what we specifically talk about is like, you know, primarily US based. So cool to, to see the proliferation of cannabis, you know, outside the US and then have conversations around that.

35:19 Isaac:

No, for sure. He, he answered that question I asked about, uh, you know, expansion in areas like a pro. He quickly diverted into what he’s most personally excited about, which I, I thought was a, you know, I think hi, his team will definitely appreciate that one. <laugh>.

35:33 Eric:

Yeah. And it’s cool to see like his, his path and his trajectory, right. Starting at Arcview, then merging into independent consulting and now back on the operator side. You know, it sounds like he, you know, tenacious Labs is a great culture, um, awesome company and so super excited for Jake to just, you know, be there and have a, a great opportunity.

35:53 Isaac:

Yeah, me too. No, it was a great one. I don’t

35:56 Eric:

Agree on his pizza choices though. I don’t agree on his pizza choices.

35:59 Isaac:

I mean, I like Detroit Pizza, but to say it’s better than New York style pizza is just, there’s no chance. I don’t technically have a dog in this fight.

36:07 Eric:

Me and you, me and you don’t agree on much things. I think that’s one thing that we can,

36:12 Isaac:

I mean, yeah, I’m neutral.

36:15 Eric:

What’s your New York pizza

36:17 Isaac:

Go-to is John’s ’cause I, I mean, I did live like half a block away, so I, I have, it’s near and dear to my heart, my son, my Sunday night dinger routine with my roommate. Used to be split a pizza, split a a meatball hero and call it good <laugh>.

36:31 Eric:

That’s, that is a fat Sunday. Yeah.

36:35 Isaac:

That’s nice. That was back in the earlier days. The Sundays were a little bit tougher back then for, for me. <laugh>. <laugh>.

36:42 Eric:

I’m a chosen Pats guy through and through. I know, but

36:44 Isaac:

I know you are. But, but awesome ex excited for the next one and uh, you know, another good one in the books.

36:52 Eric:

Yeah, absolutely Isaac. Well, uh, let’s keep this rolling. Great moment.

36:58 Isaac:

Absolutely.

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