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Just under 36 hours in the snow encrusted shadow of Mt Shasta- A Golden State; My Observations

My soundtrack for this very short journey was some inspirational music for me, attached below. It followed me throughout the trip as part of the framework for my writing these observations. So, indulge me with a listen to my friend DF Tram while you read my words.

I find that his imaginative explorations work with my visual and emotional interpretations of that elongated day and a half in Redding, California. This music influences the sky and my dreams, and that looming, snow-covered mountain is where the water used to nurture the plants really comes from. 

The Spiritual Guides

cannabis world news product reviews promos photo of Nishant Reddy if Golden State

Nishant Reddy and his crucial EO, Leslie… took care of everything just perfectly as I, too, worked as an EO for decades, and I understand the pressure. It’s hard work, and she does it with alacrity and deep humility. Everything was perfect in my vision. From the sounds of the birds outside my hotel room balcony (I left deep/snowy winter in NJ, so having my door open and letting in the sound of the birds gently waking me after a long flight from NJ…To the first wake and bake of the day, inhaling a micro joint of A Golden State with the freshness of the mountain air surrounding my head. Those little joints of Woods — appropriate somehow being up in the mountain forest — this is what I enjoyed first thing in the morning — a pleasure and an honor. Then, a real mountain breakfast with far too much handcrafted food; each glimpse around me was of freight trains going by (lots of trains) and the metaphor for my journey, the omnipresent snow-covered mountains that encircle this magical place. They are the reason why I am here. The water that melts down off Mt. Shasta is life-giving! It’s amazing! I experienced much visually during my visit, both inward and outward. Smoking cannabis of this quality from A Golden State, at their elevation, really was a pleasure. My interactions with the terroir were punctuated by the ring of snow-covered mountains spilling their visual secrets whenever you gazed up. 

Thank you for allowing me glimpses of your world. It was just perfect. 

A Golden State… Wow, what you have achieved here is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I get around the world. Is there a term for ultra-craft? I hope so because of what “Bear” and Nishant have achieved with a cast of artists — all striving for a canopy of dreams… It’s striking for me to view the inner vista. The Aboriginal people call it the Dreamtime. When I’m around thriving plants, the energy from these creations fills my brain for lucid dreaming later on — the scent, the visuals, the feel, the conversation. It was a university course, condensed down to a couple of hours. I could have spent all day asking questions with just observations. Lighting from below, the side, on top, hands giving energy and taking the experience to another level. Like the great masters of art, cannabis of this complexity is not manipulated. There is a purity that oozes off each densely textured inhalation.  

The Resin

It was that sticky stuff, and it was all over my fingers and surrounding my head. I couldn’t even focus my Leica; the lens was fogged up anyway from the room’s inner rainforest terroir (forest floor and almost visible droplets of humidity experiment), nor my iPhone, because my beforementioned fingertips were stuck together from that juicy bud of Lemon Creamsicle smeared all over the lens. The plethora of dazzling LED-lit plants that surrounded me was gluing up my nostrils with their perfumes and my glove-covered fingers with their gummy juices. The air hung weightily in my head and fingers, coated with a certain lifegiving sap. Pan Asian spices like cardamom and bursts of Thai Chilies stung the inside of my nose. The rainforest-like humidity made my usually comfortable wool socks dripping sweat buckets. As I walked around each plant, drinking in her energy, I realized that it wasn’t unpleasant; in fact, I wanted to spend the rest of the day in there, like in a friendly steam room located inside a country club. In this case, the rooms filled with thirsty bushes of perfectly hand-tended flowers. Just gazing at each happy plant and marveling at the sticky stuff that was suspended in each breath, the aromas literally coating my glasses with ebullient plant juices. 

It was ironic, but as I was searching for a way to keep my fingers and everything else from sticking together, my spirit guide on the personal tour recommended that I “run my fingers through my hair.” Hmmmm. Why, I wondered. As if on cue, the explanation given to me was perfectly simple. The oils in our hair dissolve the cannabis resin nearly immediately. Just one more thing I learned about the plant. No soap and water were needed, and that effusive perfume of their juicy strains enveloped my airspace in her sweet/gassy aromatics of the opulent cannabis varietals. 

I want to wear the myriad of her olfactory-pleasing perfumes as my cologne all day long. 

The Grow

Each room is consistently tended to, from the top down to the absolute bottom up. The air smells clean, and everything gleams like the first day the system was installed. Each grow room is different, with micro-experiments held right within their more traditional approaches. Metrics are essential, with vast amounts of data brought into the grows. Each room is a consistent experience in these metrics as they reference and compare certain observations. Constantly day in and day out, hour by hour, pressure, humidity, temperature, light, dark, watering, feeding, testing, and retesting, hand watering, weighing, spoken kindly to, I think it matters…. I’d hoped to have music played for the plants. I’m sure they’d enjoy some of the Upsweep. 

In the end, it’s all about her, the plant. She is carefully hand-tended, and it is grueling, nonstop work. She rewards this completely mind-numbing activity by offering a deeply Zen experience that requires profound patience. What it really requires is a sense of swiftness because there are thousands of plants to tend to. Each plant is essential and equally important to life itself.

The Mantra

Starting at the bottom is not working as a plant-touching person at A Golden State; there are many steps to take before the plant becomes the primary focus. It really becomes an intonation or a mindful activity in the grand sense of the word because there is always something to do in the care of the facility and the cleanliness of everything within. Perhaps the explanation for this, my explanation, lies in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which should be in their welcome new employee kits, as this book might help in the nature of their work. I’ve been to grows all over and this was the first one that I wanted to hook up an electrical current reader to the plant and listen to the sound of the good energy that flows through each flower. Aside from the technical stuff, this is an organic plant that just feels good to be around. If the entire universe was in a microcosm of cannabis scent, each sniff was coating the inside of my nose and filling my head with all sorts of canna-driven possibilities. 

I couldn’t wait to taste what was waiting for me later back in my jacket pocket. A Golden State grows some of the finest cannabis I have ever savored. True, I am well-traveled and have enjoyed many a fine grower’s special home stash… Without factoring in the basic premise that I couldn’t possibly have tried everything, of course, in the fifty years I’ve appreciated the plant. What A Golden State does is profoundly unique due to the relentless determination exemplified by every team member from the bottom up — from the flower trimmers to the master growers. They clearly love what they do, and it shows in every essential task, from vacuuming out an entire room and breaking down each part of the air-conditioning to the dehumidification units to the combination of lights to their very placement, vertically, horizontally, and from above and below. It’s all an encyclopedia of the plant and how to do better by her.

My observation? This is a deeply crafted project. Sure, they want to be perfectly efficient, but patience is absolutely a virtue. Their positive methods are many, and each experiment is meant to emulate something greater than it was prior. How else do you learn? And my favorite strain? Empanadas Diez… the sense of elation is paramount to me. I get things done. 

cannabis world news product reviews promos front of cannabis dispensary building

The effort that goes into every 1/8th of an ounce glass jar from A Golden State is not just physical; it’s a deeply emotional experience. Each cultivar is an involvement in the anti-stoner experience. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I got plenty “high.” But cannabis, on this level, does more for me than just being obliterated. It opens my mind and forces me to think about what I’ve been experiencing in life. My thinking offers a certain clarity and intellectualism. I don’t feel like I’m going to be sleeping; I want to create beautiful articles.  

A Golden State’s THC levels are lower than most, and that’s a really good thing. I’m on the record, and I want to reiterate again that ultra-high numbers from THC cannabis do not help me from a medical standpoint. They just don’t reduce my eye pressure. It doesn’t do anything but give me a headache; it’s no fun when using medical cannabis for a specific purpose. What the strain named Empanadas Diez offers is just right for me. A coating on the backside of my brain. Lagniappe is my description. A little something extra.  

What A Golden State has achieved through its commitment to the uncompromising equilibrium of craft cannabis to commerce in the macro sense is exemplified in its purely noble approach to the plant. What I initially envisioned as something more mechanical in nature was immediately dispelled by the fact that this ultra-craft cannabis grow exists because of exemplary reasoning. The details and attention shown to every plant in the rooms are utterly mind-blowing. 

Sure, you can robotically mechanize a cannabis grow; I’ve seen it and wondered how the plant likes being manipulated in this way. But why would you when every plant in every room at A Golden State is loved, every single day, around the clock? Day in, day out. It’s their life work. 

If they were glass blowers, I’d be watching them hand-pull fragile Murano glass. It’s that level of expertise without fail because they are dealing with extremely expensive materials. Cohesive, behavioral, consistent perfection in everything they do in the life-cycle of the plant, from popping seeds to packaging the flowers, it’s all done right here. 

If you can’t do the best, don’t do it at all. At A Golden State, they have achieved something very distinctive through what appears to be an intense, laborious series of mind-numbing exertions. Tending their vast myriad of miniature and fragile seedlings right down to the elegant, finished product, all by hand, is arduous work taken on with a profound desire and even empathy. Their work is mindful, and their jobs can be deeply fulfilling on an innate level. Something that craft cannabis allows us to experience that special feeling I felt. 

What A Golden State has achieved in craft cannabis is very different from the corporate cannabis machine, which unfortunately shows very little finesse, so we won’t be discussing that genre! 

 The art of craft cannabis shows in everything they do, from their pastel “California Desert” hue packaging in the slender little tins containing tiny hand-filled joints to their handsome glass vessels sitting in tiny cutouts inside their thoughtfully designed packages. Each is devised to eliminate any lateral or vertical motion that may damage the unsullied, hand-trimmed flowers. And the end result? That’s for you to experience. 

Seek out A Golden State and see what their eloquent purpose brings to you. I think it is very special, rare, pleasurable, and intensely transcendent.  

cannabis world news product reviews promos dispensary with display

Their Brand New Redding California Dispensary 

Located just around the corner from the Redding Airport is their brand new flagship dispensary/grow. You’ll need to see what they have accomplished; it’s essential to your gourmet cannabis edification. 

They’d love to see you at the dispensary, and the warmth that is emulated in the room is not just something you can see. It’s something you feel inside. Rest your legs awhile on the sumptuous couches and savor the stylish architecture of the building. Enjoy the view of the fully scaled cannabis grow situated just behind large windows facing the equally large windows fronting their always-changing streetscape in a very safe area of town. 

I’ve never been in a facility anywhere in the world that looks as visually beautiful as this facility. It’s organic in style and peacefully designed, yet vividly lit from the inside. A blazing series of LED lighting arrays. They are immediately punctuating your entire visual experience. The plants growing behind you are oozing with green, purple, orange, and white flowers. Others, in their trimmed state, are displayed in jewelry cases, set prominently on the broad, modern mountain-designed stone counters with roughhewn edges reminiscent of George Nakashima wood tables, yet fabricated by local stones- are interactive and demand your touch. Shopping is encouraged, or just let the friendly and deeply competent budtenders personally guide your canna-centric experience with gentleness. Their verbal anecdotes and canna-vision are pleasant and non-sales pushy. That get ’em in and out in five minutes or fewer minutes just doesn’t exist here. You are encouraged to come as you are and enjoy the views, either outside or inside. I loved both because I’d never experienced a dispensary with a full-sized grow just behind. Sure, I’ve been to Colorado and Oregon, where there were micro-grows of a couple of plants in the shops. But this was a completely full-scale operation, with no messing around with it just for show grow. The space is pristine; they are always cleaning and hand-tending to the plant. This is what is always going on in the background. The plant is what is important here, with the visionary plants from A Golden State guiding my dreams. 

The store itself is visually more akin to a high-end NYC design shop, reminiscent of the Museum of Modern Art store in Soho. A Golden State has achieved another arrow in its quiver with its non-obtrusive design. The plant in her glory is presented in large glass cases. The lighting is soft, and the color palate is earthy and calming. The entire length of the dispensary is punctuated by large glass windows facing an LED-bathed professional grow.

 An experience in architecture, light, the giant windows gazing into another dimension. A fully in action, craft cannabis grow. Very impressive indeed. 

May I have another twenty minutes? 

Thank you to Nishant Reddy, who helped me go further emotionally on this trip than I thought possible at this time of my life. Nishant redefined my enlightenment by offering something tangible in a manner I’d never experienced before. Remarkably, I was open to being taught because I truly know nothing about this purely craft side of the cannabis business, and each visit to A Golden State going forward is with full mindfulness and thirst for future knowledge.

My soundtrack from the auditory artist, DF Tram.

Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow, except for the photo of Nishant Reddy (Courtesy of A Golden State)

5 Questions Articles Interviews Skunk Magazine

Digging Deeper into Joe Castelo, Founder of The Station Dispensary

I first met Joe Castelo a couple of months ago in Hoboken, NJ, and at that time, his company had just opened their gleaming new cannabis dispensary. In a mid-1940s-era imposing edifice of a former office building, located just across the vast expanse from the NJ Transit/Erie Lackawanna railroad and ferry complex, Joe has forged himself a bulwark to his neighborhood. This area is teeming with potential customer-friendly businesses… Namely, banks, bars, restaurants, and commuters. It’s always busy down here for a reason. You are forced by necessity- There is the river on one side, the roadway, and the rails on the other. Thousands of potential customers stream by his front doors hourly on their way to the immense corporate canyons located just across the Hudson River. These potential customers live nearby or further away, but they all share a common task. They walk right by his front doors.

But a dispensary does not make a man, just like a building does not make intellects from mere plaster walls. But fill this building with thinkers and fellow consumers of all types working towards many goals, both creative and practical; then you have a better picture of what Joe represents to me: that’s someone who can teach me something without effort. He took me on a personal tour of his corner location, making sure that I saw the crown on the head of his building. The top floor, with the most commanding view of Manhattan, is located just beyond the river. It’s an impressive space with floor-to-ceiling windows on all the sides that matter; facing the glitter of the City is a good start. It looks like a place where some serious thinking and entertainment go on. The view is that striking.

After a couple of hours of wandering through the building and listening to Joe speak of the myriad of projects he’s contemplating and currently creating- a renaissance man for certain is riding the elevator with me. Made my day for certain.

Humble, kind, and a natural teacher, Joe Castelo wants you to know that he’s from Hoboken. Not a carpetbagger investor from New York. That’s cool, Joe. I, too, was born and raised in New Jersey, maybe not in a vibrant city, but on a farm…. I never thought I’d see that day that cannabis would be in Hoboken. You give me deep hope for change in our state.


cannabis world news industry business interviews image of old brick building

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you now? What about your new dispensary? Where is it? Please tell me about it.

Joe Castelo: I am a restaurateur, filmmaker, cannabis entrepreneur, father, and husband who lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. My family has been in business in Hoboken for over 70 years. I truly love this town of firsts (and Hoboken is known as “The City of Firsts!”) —from the people, the Hoboken community, and how the close proximity of family, friends, business, and fun always keeps me in a creative and connected state. Because it is a mile-square city, you are always within walking distance of anything you love, and you are never too far from anyone. And we’re here to serve at The Station (86 River St.), with the best cannabis New Jersey has to offer. Our dispensary sits right outside the storied Lackawanna Train Terminal and NJ PATH station. There is a tremendous amount of foot traffic, so we anticipate being a convenient stop for commuters, Hoboken locals, and those picking up cannabis on their way into the city. Our staff has decades of combined experience in the industry, and they are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing that knowledge.

WB: Why cannabis? What brought you to the plant? Do you remember the first time you imbibed? Who turned you on to cannabis?

JC: I was brought to cannabis because it has the power to heal and motivate introspection, personal growth, and creativity. It transforms and provides quality of life, not only to individuals but now economic benefit to communities. The first time I imbibed I was amongst friends and the first thing I noticed was just how curious I became about so many subjects—music, art, existence—and how much I laughed…and I love to laugh. And the stigma and fear that was generated around the plant was distorted for so many reasons. I had friends who were persecuted because of their use of cannabis, and I’ve witnessed so much injustice against cannabis users, and none of it made any sense. Who turned me on to cannabis? I suppose it was Donald Sutherland! I somehow managed to watch Animal House as a kid, and Donald Sutherland played a weed-smoking philosophy professor. It was the first time that I’d ever seen anyone smoke cannabis. It seemed like a very pleasant experience, nothing negative about it, and it didn’t seem like the stigmatized experience that everyone else had described it to be. Like other scenes in movies about alternative culture, I knew this probably had to be the truth. I loved independent films, and there was always some aspect of cannabis culture represented in movies; that’s where I think a lot of people were educated over time about the plant. And it was what made it appealing to me.

cannabis world news industry business interviews inside of dispensary

WB: Please tell me what your six and twelve-month goals are.

JC: In six months’ time, I’d like our dispensary to be a vibrant hub for the community. We are hiring locals and giving a percentage of our sales to charitable organizations in Hoboken, including the Boys & Girls Club, a charity that I am personally very passionate about. If we can also educate about how to implement cannabis into a healthy lifestyle, that would be an excellent outcome in the next six to 12 months. I’ve already done this to great success with a relative of mine who was unable to sleep and was forced to turn to Ambien. She was having a very negative experience with traditional sleeping medicines, and it was adversely affecting her health. Once she switched to a very easy-to-take Indica lozenge, she began sleeping soundly every night. Simply amazing. Beyond the dispensary in the next 12 months? I’d like to find more time to connect with family and nature, hopefully at the same time. And to find more energy! It is out there somewhere…

WB: What is your passion?

JC: My passion is staying connected and growing with the people that I care about and the community I live in, Hoboken. Being useful, being a part of a community of people of character who inspire me to get better every day. I really enjoy working with people who love to collaborate and create and are driven by a common purpose: to build something that will make people’s lives better. With our hospitality group, our members’ workspace, and countless cultural events, I’ve seen the positive benefits of having a place where people can come together, develop friendships and business connections, and generally expand their personal horizons through art, music, food, and communal events. And our dispensary will be part of that experience.

All Photos Courtesy of Joe Castelo/The Station

Essential link: Joe placed it.

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The other day, I was perusing through some emails that I hadn’t dug into yet- and I saw one from a guy named Teddy Bang. It was quite forward, actually… He was asking me to interview him.

I replied that it had been a while since someone asked me to interview them… Usually, it’s the other way around, with me doing all the pitching. And that’s ok because it’s nearly impossible for me to find all the best… Because I’m seeking something intangible.

“Sir Warren,

My name is Teddy Bang, and I’m a cannabis owner and operator in SoCal. It’d be great to chat and maybe do a 5 question article or fun piece. There are lots happening, developing, and market patterns and insights I could share that could interest you and your audience- like how we can make something work or happen.

Teddy Bang | CEO and Operator
Cali Flwr Farms MHPC | Distribution + Manufacturing
Cali Flwr Farms | Dope Town | Viva Sativa | Sofa King”

This was the letter; how could I resist?

But getting back to Teddy’s story. It’s pretty clear that he’s doing what he loves: working with the plant. In ways that seem to fly in circles, I’ve not yet surveyed in my path. And no, I hadn’t heard of him, not yet anyway. But I think that’s going to change… Thank you, Teddy, for reaching out to me and putting your creativity and craft on my radar. I can’t wait to do a ‘tasting’. Cheers! WB

cannabis world news interviews caricature of Teddy Bang, CEO: Cali Flwr Farms

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you located now? What have you been working on? How did you get to where you are today?

Teddy Bang: Highly educated and have a medical degree- but I sell weed and build brands in Southern California. Born and raised LA, California boy- all the licenses and warehouses are in the Valley or North LA, I live down in South OC- on a beach in San Clemente. I am building a team and culture that can stay calm and positive in a super volatile unknown marketplace- high level. Low level, we’re always trying to stay net profitable and especially create new customers- that’s a big problem. There are too many licenses and not enough consumers. Always looking to learn and get better every day- I’ve found surrounding yourself with good quality people and no bitching or complaining, just focusing on what you want. You are defined by the problems you can solve.

WB: Why cannabis? What did you initially want to be “when you grew up”?…. Tell me about your company (s). What do you do that sets you apart from your competition? What makes you better?

TB: This is personal. For years, I would tell my teenage daughter you have to be passionate, and you have to be purposeful and live the truth of your soul- and one day, she flipped the script and asked if I thought selling medical devices was my passion and purpose, and the answer was no. The things I loved were surfing and cannabis. I reached out to Kelly Slaters’, a pro surfer, wave pool company and got knee deep and realized shit, this isn’t passion, you aren’t surfing that wave every day. It’s emails, meetings, and ex-corporate guys. So, the second one, cannabis- it was going legal in California, and I decided this was it, I’m going for it. Growing up, I wanted to be a playboy photographer, for obvious reasons, or bongo rockstar, because growing up in LA in the 70s, being a rockstar was that bitchin lifestyle- playing by your own rules.

cannabis world news interviews black man with hands handcuffed behind back, with cops arresting him, and business logo

Our companies are dope; we have a lot of fun, a lot of respect, and a great crew. We’re building brands, integrating with the farm, making the whole operation net profitable and reproducible. We don’t pay too much attention to our competition; we just go out to the marketplace and talk to our customers and dispensaries- we hear what problems they have and build solutions around that. We have boots on the ground every day and strong pulses on the market. My partner, Antione, and I will spend 30+ hours a week on the road delivering and talking to dispensaries and customers, what other company has their head operators in the stores, on the ground like that every day. It’s just old-school hustle paired with some serious soul. This is hard to beat.

WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals? How do you anticipate getting there? Do you have a mentor? Did someone teach you?

TB: We are so in the moment, we have some big visions but its fluid. Ultimately, we want to be net profitable, have fun, make sure everyone is passionate and the culture is tight, and bring as much reproducibility as we can- just solve problems over and over. Our team is the vehicle to get there; it’s all about the culture, communication, love, and kindness. No one gets irritated when someone makes a mistake. The team just jumps in and helps- no blame. Tik Tok is my 2024 mentor, the algorithm knows what I wanna hear and when I want to hear it. But overall, I have always been a slow learner and have to figure it out myself- still, till this day, I like to figure out the problem or system before handing it off to someone, just because I don’t ever want to ask someone to do something that I am not willing to dig into or do.

cannabis world news interviews Cali FLWR Farms logo on indoor cannabis cultivation operations

WB: What is your favorite kind of food? Restaurant? Where? Do you cook? What do you eat for lunch?

TB: I eat basic whole food, nothing in boxes with weird chemicals that I don’t know what they are. I cook lots of steak, chicken, lettuce, carrots, vegetables- real basic foods and just add salt and pepper. Sugarfish is the go to celebratory spot, sometimes Miley Cyrus meets me there… Okay, only one time we were there at the same time…

WB: What is your passion?

TB: My passion is passion. I am a very soulful person; I love what I do. I love to listen to people talk about things they love and see the world through their eyes, and build a connection with people built on genuine acceptance. I also have two beautiful dogs, and a passion project is to make sure they just have the most dope, peaceful life possible. Which usually includes daily beach trail walks, ocean swim sesh’s and many, many fetch hours in the park.

For more cannabis industry insights and breakdowns, follow cali_dopecrew on Instagram

Photos credit: The black and white cityscape, sunset swing photo, LA mural, and arrested photo; Norman Schwartz 

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Cannagars. Just the very thought of the word stimulates my taste buds: hand-built using the finest flowers, adjuncts, and elegant covering wraps, like rose petals, rice paper, gold leaf, or even hemp.

I think of all the truly gourmet cannagars I’ve tasted over the years and wonder, can I do that? Well, the short answer is yes. I can. And I have. Maybe not as finely detailed and potent- as a Made in Xiaolin Cannagar, or a Leira Cannagar handmade and dipped in pricy gold leaf, or even those fantastic Bull Run Cannagars that I had a couple of years ago. With the right equipment and patience, well, I can do it, too. However, I’ll need a really well-made form. Something built for the job. A professional cigar mold made from specially sourced materials. Something that won’t warp nor break easily. What I need to craft a cannagar are carefully constructed forms honed with aircraft-quality-grade aluminum from the nearly ten-year-old company named Cannagar Solutions. These are the creations of Kelly Anderson, who came to cannabis later in life, as you’ll discover shortly. But it’s never too late, and the invention that I have sitting in front of me has earned a well-deserved trademark. Kelly is doing something others have attempted, but none of the others have yet to be as artful nor as crisply.

Please allow me the pleasure for you to meet Kelly Anderson—inventor of the Cannagar Solutions Cannagar mold/press.

cannabis world news interviews commentary Kelly Anderson, owner of Cannagar

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Why Cannabis? Where are you from? Did you enjoy the plant growing up? What was your first experience with a cannagar? Who smoked one with you? Where?

Kelly Anderson: My experience with cannabis is limited to the past ten years. Initially, my exposure to cannabis came from individuals around me who used it to alleviate various ailments. Witnessing the positive health effects it had on them sparked my interest. I suffer from severe sleep apnea, and I had at the time been relying on prescription medications to sleep. My health would deteriorate into other issues when I didn’t get good sleep. In addition, I was concerned about becoming dependent on these drugs and sought an alternative. I decided to give cannabis a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. The first time I used it, I had the best night of sleep I had ever experienced, without any negative side effects like those associated with sleep medications. This positive outcome led me to continue using cannabis, and I have successfully eliminated the need for prescription medications. During this period, I was also involved in creating wooden cigar molds and collaborated with a prominent influencer to modify them for Cannabis Cigars. As our product line gained popularity, we eventually transitioned to using more refined aluminum molds.

cannabis world news interviews commentary woman standing at table with Cannagar products

WB: Please tell me about your company. What do you do differently, i.e., better than your competition? How long have you been working towards your success?

KA: We are thrilled to have developed the molds and processes for creating Cannagars in a more sophisticated manner just over nine years ago. Our company is the exclusive holder of a patent for both our molds and the process of making Cannagars. It’s quite noteworthy to be one of the few companies with a patent for a product specifically designed for the Cannabis industry.

Shifting from our wooden molds to aluminum ones, we aimed to create a highly versatile product line that could be expanded and had interchangeable parts. Our primary focus was on providing high-quality products, offering commercial-grade performance, a wide range of options, and a dynamic product line that could be adapted by anyone.

We provide seven different gauges and three lengths in our offerings. Our entry-level mold consists of two slots. If you desire more slots or larger sizes, you can simply purchase an additional mold and a new tip, allowing you to create different sizes or molds with additional slots. For customers who require even more slots, we offer inserts to expand the mold. Many of our clients have molds that can accommodate making 60-70 Cannagars simultaneously, eliminating the need for them to purchase new molds and simply opting for inserts instead.

cannabis world news interviews commentary cannagar case, buds, and cannager in ashtray with lighter

Considering our aim to cater to commercial needs, we ensured that our molds were easily sanitized and capable of withstanding the demands of commercial usage. As a result, we chose aluminum to be our standard material. Our packing tool, featuring a steel shaft, can be adjusted to any gauge size by simply unscrewing and replacing the tip. The packing tool also boasts a large ball at the end, which ensures a comfortable grip.

Unfortunately, many imitators in the market make use of plastic or 3D-printed molds, which are considerably inferior. While they may be suitable if sanitation or durability are not concerns, we frequently encounter customers who switch to our products after experiencing failures with cheap molds. Finally, we take pride in our prompt responses to customer inquiries and our commitment to shipping out orders as soon as they are received.

WB: What obstacles stand in your way to succeed? Do you have six and twelve-month goals? What are they?

KA: Everyone involved in the Cannabis industry is aware of the significant difficulties in marketing and advertising. We are no exception, as it poses our biggest challenge. Social media platforms often restrict content related to paraphernalia, leading to account suspensions without warning. Traditional marketing methods are not effective for us. Therefore, this year, our main objective is to elevate our marketing efforts to a new level.

cannabis world news interviews commentary Cannagar weedstick

Our immediate and future objectives involve enhancing market visibility, reducing product expenses, and introducing innovative products and accessories.

WB: What is the learning curve of your product? Do you include instructions or links to YouTube videos for the paper instruction impaired? How easy is it to utilize? How long do you cure the Cannagars? Does humidity- or lack thereof help?

KA: Many underestimate the complexity of crafting a Cannagar. The necessary equipment is quite simple, consisting of a mold, skewer, packing tool, and quality herb. Creating a Cannagar is considered an art, and beginners often become easily frustrated. Initial attempts might not meet expectations, and the cigar may break when removed from the mold. What works for one person may not work for another due to various factors such as herb quality, moisture content, grinding techniques, packing intensity, duration in the mold, storage, and herb variety. Our recommendation is to have herbs at 62% moisture and tear buds into ¼ to ½ inch pieces, as the cigar holds together better than when using ground herb. Packing requires significant pressure and should be done forcefully. Some believe the cigar should stay in the mold for hours or even days, but we advise removing it immediately and proceeding to wrap. Once wrapped, store the Cannagar in a humidor with 62% moisture packs. When ready to smoke, be mindful of drawing gently to avoid inhaling excessive hot smoke. With experience, the process becomes faster, allowing you to create a Cannagar in just a few minutes. The ease of smoking and extended burn time make the effort worthwhile.

cannabis world news interviews commentary 3 sizes of metal Cannagar boxes with cleaning plungers

WB: What is your passion?

K A: We are deeply committed to assisting individuals, and our strongest inclination lies in helping others. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to our customers who are dealing with medical or PTSD conditions. We fully acknowledge the potential of our products in providing support and relief amid these unfortunate circumstances.

About Cannagar Solutions

Established in 2017, Cannagar Solutions has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the cannabis industry. Based in the picturesque heart of the Ozarks in Missouri, we are dedicated to delivering innovative and high-quality solutions for both commercial and consumer cannabis enthusiasts.

At Cannagar Solutions, we take immense pride in being pioneers in our field. We hold the distinction of being the sole business with a US Patent on the design and process of creating Cannagar molds. Our dedication to precision and excellence is reflected in our meticulously crafted aluminum molds engineered to meet the rigorous demands of commercial use.

But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve extended our inventive designs to the consumer level, ensuring that enthusiasts of all backgrounds can create their own perfect Cannagars with ease and precision. Our products are not just tools but a testament to our commitment to providing the best for our customers.

cannabis world news interviews commentary woman holding Cannagar above ashtray

Beyond our passion for innovation and quality, Cannagar Solutions holds deep-rooted values. We embrace the natural world and strive to utilize the earth’s offerings in their purest form. We firmly believe in the healing properties of cannabis, and our products are a testament to our commitment to making its benefits accessible to all.

At the core of our business lies our customers, who we consider an extension of our family. We actively seek and value their feedback, incorporating their suggestions into our evolving line of offerings. This collaborative spirit fuels our dedication to improving and innovating continually.

Cannagar Solutions is not just a business; it’s a mission to redefine the cannabis experience. Join us on this journey as we celebrate the art and science of Cannagars and strive to make them accessible to all who seek the relief and joy that cannabis can provide.

Work smarter, not harder. From their website… Brilliant!

Photos courtesy of Cannagar Solutions 

5 Questions Articles Interviews Skunk Magazine


yan Crandall is the chief revenue officer of MariMed Inc. and co-creator of Betty’s Eddies, one of the brands in MariMed’s portfolio. A top seller in all the markets where it’s available, Betty’s Eddies is a brand of all-natural, cannabis-infused fruit chews celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Now? What drew you to infused foods? Why cannabis?

Ryan Crandall: I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I’m originally from southeastern Massachusetts and currently live in the Boston suburb of Foxborough with my wife, two children, and more animals than you have space to list. I’ve always been a cannabis user and a proponent of its medicinal benefits, but I’m a foodie at heart. I am constantly inspired and intrigued by new dishes, restaurants – you name it. I first started to merge cannabis and food together in my kitchen when I discovered how much better I was sleeping after incorporating an infused edible into my bedtime routine. I am fascinated by all things science, especially when it comes to biology, evolution, and plants. So, I was intrigued to learn all I could about cannabis. I figured if it could help me sleep better by understanding the plant’s origin and all of its elements, there were bound to be additional ways I could incorporate it as a natural remedy for other areas of my health and wellness. That’s what initially led to the creation of Betty’s Eddies with some friends.

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about your company. What are you known for? What are you working on now?

Ryan Crandall: MariMed is a multi-state cannabis operator that is dedicated to improving people’s lives every day through our high-quality products, actions, and values. We develop, own, and manage seed-to-sale, state-licensed cannabis facilities, which are models of excellence in horticultural principles, cannabis cultivation, cannabis-infused products, and dispensary operations. We currently have full seed-to-store operations in Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, and Delaware, a dispensary in Ohio, and partnerships for brand distribution in Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. We are perhaps best known for our best-in-class brands, which include Betty’s Eddies, Bubby’s Baked, Vibations, and Nature’s Heritage. Each brand is reputable in their respective categories for their high quality. We take great pride in our approach to innovation and creating the best products consumers can buy. Our benchmark is that our edibles should be so delicious that non-infused versions would see well in better grocery stores. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to improve our products as well. For example, Betty’s Eddies has always been a strong seller, but we improved the line last year by being one of the first brands in the industry to add in supplements and other minor cannabinoids to further elevate their efficacy, onset, taste, and consistency. Consumer response was off the hook. We’re about to do the same with our Vibations brand, a great-selling cannabis drink mix that we’ve improved to deliver even better taste plus advanced hydration, a boost of energy, and a quicker onset.

cannabis world news consumer education edibles recipes photo of Ryan Crandall of MariMed

Warren Bobrow: What are your six- and twelve-month goals? Obstacles? How do you anticipate removing them?

Ryan Crandall: Our mantra for 2024 is to LEAD the industry in every way we can! We want to be one of the top contenders, hopefully, number one, in each of the categories our brands participate in. Of course, there are always obstacles, but one that is fairly constant is the state-by-state regulations we must follow in the industry and how unexpected and often they can change. Those changes result in timeline shifts for our operations teams, our financial planners, our marketing team…really everyone. You always have to have your finger on the pulse of potential changes, new entrants, federal and local regulations….the list goes on. But in order to stay on top and truly lead, you have to stay alert, anticipate change, and be nimble enough to pivot on a dime when necessary. We take great pride in our ability to adapt as necessary in this crazy industry and overcome any potential wrench that gets thrown our way.

Warren Bobrow: Do you work with food scientists or chefs? Who is your mentor or inspiration?

Ryan Crandall: Yes, we work with a talented, dedicated, and highly educated team of food scientists on the formulation of each of our respective brands, including Betty’s Eddies. When it comes to a mentor as it relates to a brand, Ben and Jerry’s is the one that resonates with me most. Even from their early days, from their branding and visual aesthetic to the artwork, packaging, and unique naming of products was something I found iconic. They truly had a flavor that could relate to any potential consumer, and that was something that really struck me. They created an ice cream brand that made consumers feel relatable. When it comes to a person who inspires me, it’s Steve Jobs, specifically for his unique approach to innovation and the technical genius empire he is responsible for.

Warren Bobrow: What is your passion?

Ryan Crandall: It’s simple; I like to help people. Fun fact about me: I originally wanted to be a doctor, and never in my dreams did I envision working in an industry that hears from patients who have turned to different Betty’s Eddies varieties to help with ailments. I’ve spoken with cancer patients, people going through grief, people who struggle with sleep and anxiety – the list goes on – and hearing how something I have put my soul into creating is making their days slightly better makes all of this worth it.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of MariMed, Inc.

Articles Reviews Skunk Magazine


Arecent visit to the sparkling new cannabis dispensary reveals something different in New Jersey. What sets Garden State Botanicals apart from its peers is Sun Grown Cannabis, which is propagated right here in New Jersey.

The other day, I visited Garden State Botanicals and saw a well-designed dispensary with a twist. That twist would lead me to the fine flowers grown by Brute’s Roots in South Jersey. Finally, someone is growing cannabis with a deeper meaning. Sun grown flower just tastes differently. Sure, it has less THC than many of the other name brands on the market, and that is just the charm. You might not know, but many of us who utilize cannabis for medical reasons find that higher THC cannabis is not as viable as low THC cannabis in the treatment and alleviation of certain ills, such as my eyes. High THC gives me a headache and raises my eye pressure. Lower THC, like the strains grown by Brute’s Roots offers the healing I require- and the drive down to North Brunswick is not entirely too far from my house.

cannabis world news industry business author with two ladies
Sam, Warren, and Taleia

For the good stuff- I’ll travel far and wide to attain the kind.
Thank you to Garden State Botanicals for carrying Brute’s Roots. What a nice surprise!
Real Sun Grown Cannabis in New Jersey? Yes! More to follow in this regard, with a possible road trip in the coming weeks.

Garden State Botanicals is super easy to get to. I don’t know why my GPS didn’t take me to Rutgers, then down 18, but no matter… They are really easy to find from all over central New Jersey. They are right next door to a Dunkin and a Baskin Robbins, so you cannot miss it from the street. There is plenty of dedicated parking as well, so no worries there. And for medical folks like me, you can show up at 10:00 and have the whole store basically to yourself. That kind of service is rare in any state. And what kind budtenders!

cannabis world news industry business now open sign on front of dispensary
Garden State Botanicals

They do have a friendly and knowledgeable staff, as I found out myself. Their menu is super easy to read, and there is even a terpene-scenting bar for those who might want to deepen their intellectual cannabis experience. A well-chosen selection of cannabis accessories, hand-crafted pipes, glass bongs, and rolling papers- including their new hemp blunt wrappers- fills out the room with their comfortable seating area and real plants (unfortunately not cannabis ones), giving off healing energy to the gleaming, sun-filled room. For a strip mall pad, this is a very inviting space that is modern, yet not cold in any way; it’s warm and inviting. A plus again for the medical community and the non-stoner, read “older” clientele, you have dedicated hours, and the dispensary is also fully recreational- but most importantly is time for medical patients to shop without the crush of other recreational customers. It’s a nice touch. And appreciated by us older folk.

Did I say that the store is really easy to get to? If you are over 21 and are at nearby Rutgers- you’re in like Flint!

I wish them the very best and thank you for the generous swag from your brimming shelves and larder.

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To say that I’m a fan of Lex Corwin’s success is a huge understatement. From the very moment that I met Lex out in Los Angeles, I knew that this was a man who is following his own dreams. And what vivid dreams they are. From Connecticut to La La, the land of dreams! And what a trajectory he has achieved. While others with formidable provenance have crashed and burned, Lex continues to open new markets and persevere in his chosen art. The art of gorgeous cannabis that smokes just like his personality.
Deeply ebullient!

When Lex got into weed it was still illegal in the East coast. I know, because I’m a tad older and I’ve struggled with this illegality since the early 1970’s. Not only was cannabis illegal, but it was and still is, deeply stigmatized by the old school who run things in the suburbs. Lex has transcended this stigma by developing his own path in life, away from this stifling environment of suburban suburbia. In the vividly glowing sunshine of California and now New Mexico, Lex is achieving success that he probably envisioned in “High” School and now it’s the thing that drives his life. Gourmet Cannabis that tells a deeper story. A story of personal success, individual entrepreneurship, and intricate passion. Cheers! WB.

Warren Bobrow: It’s been a while since we’ve come across each other professionally. Hope all has been well. From the looks of it, your company is growing exponentially. That’s good! Always proud of your success, being an East Coast person. What have you been working on? I’ve always been a fan of your flower; how do you maintain your demand for excellence?

Lex Corwin: Always a pleasure Warren. We were due for a catch-up!
We have been busy! We are working on a ton of exciting projects – this week we launched in New Mexico (our fifth market) and solidified our partner for our launch in NY.
Sabrina, my coo, and I are also working on bringing an edible to market in CA. Exciting but challenging times. Besides that, we are working on a few other states – Missouri, Montana, and Mississippi. While of course continuing to expand and improve our farm and products in the ever-changing CA marketplace.

WB: Please tell me about your new project in New Mexico. I love the cannabis there, btw. I’m a huge Albuquerque cannabis fan. I believe there is real benefit in growing cannabis in natural soil, at altitudes over six thousand feet. And the cannabis tastes so good in this zero-humidity environment! What are you looking for in your pheno hunts to make your New Mexico flowers the best you know? Any pro tips for my readers?

LC: We are so pleased to finally launch in New Mexico. It’s been a wild ride! We partnered with our Oklahoma partners, Stashhouse Distro, to bring the brand to NM in our first revenue-sharing deal. We are excited about this deal structure because it gives us a lot more control over the products we bring to market and our supply chain in general. We know exactly what is coming to market and when, rather than our prior structure of a purely licensing deal where we had little visibility into the products going to market.
I agree the flower is fantastic in NM and there are some really talented growers based there. In terms of our pheno hunt – we stuck with what we know – strains that are bright, fruity, sour, and delicious. We have a formula we like to follow in CA and all our states and didn’t want to deviate from the genetics we knew people loved and expected from us.

WB: What are your six-and twelve-month goals for Stone Road in New Mexico?

LC: We really hit the ground running in NM – considering this is our fifth market we knew exactly how to approach this launch. In other states, it took us 2-3 months to get product to the market whereas in NM we had fresh products hitting the shelf in less than a month after our last packaging components arrived. Record time for us!
So, in six months we’d love to be in 50 stores considering our supply chain is fairly mature and developed. I think we can handle it. And then in 12 months we’d love to be in over 100 stores. A large number indeed – but with our fantastic partners I believe this is attainable.

WB: Do you have a favorite city in New Mexico? Maybe a favorite restaurant? Where? Food type?

LC: I love Santa Fe. It’s so special. It’s so spiritual and just drop-dead stunning. The food is also amazing and the locals warm and friendly. Fun fact: it’s also the oldest capital city in the US.
My aunt lived there for 9 years so I was lucky enough to visit a few times. We had a great time visiting all the local galleries and walking the trails by the river.
We had a number of sensational meals, but I vividly remember Arroyo Vino. They have a large garden on site, so the produce is top-notch. Plus, the hospitality was so warm and welcoming – I look forward to going back!

WB: I know this is a broad reaching question, but what is your passion?

LC: My passion is finding joy in life. I love my job, surfing, and just hanging out with friends and family. In this tumultuous industry – finding and holding joy is extremely important. While I work pretty much 24/7, I always find time to take trips and explore the world. I figure as long as my job is crazy stressful, I might as well enjoy the journey!!

Tasting Notes for a pre-roll joint from Stone Road in California

Birthday Cake and THCA Diamonds and Hash

Nose: Tangles of tangy/sour oven roasted fruit lead into the aroma of freshly sliced, California fruit salad, laden with citrus zest and sea salt slicked shells. Crushed minerals in the nose bring the anticipated results, laughter ensues and the deeper experience of hash and the rush from the THCA Diamonds make this not your usual pre-rolled joint. It is a thing of rare beauty.

Mouthfeel: Brown Butter, sizzling hazelnuts, and crunchy French Toast soldiers dripping in steaming hot dark maple syrup. Truly patient curing at work here, no coughing at all!

Stone: This is not your beginner’s cannabis, so plan accordingly. You can smoke the entire joint or share it with friends- it’s up to you. The indulgence of smoking a one gram joint alone, by yourself…., well that is best left to the studied professionals. Cannabis as elegant and carefully nurtured as this brings pleasure and craft to the forefront and teaches us a little bit about the humility of Lex Corwin’s success in every meted puff.

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Feature photo credit: Morgan Leigh English

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It’s a Sativa by nature, but sometimes it feels more Indica-leaning- but certainly not like hybrids… It reminds me of the fine cannabis that I used to get in southern Maine back in the mid-1980s. This was when I first discovered really fine East Coast weed. I was reared on mostly West Coast flowers early on. It was that or the “whatever we could get,” which was nothing to write home about in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately for me, whatever we could get still remains vivid in my imagination; it was that brick stuff, brown and pressed. But the strains that taught me something were grown by really passionate people who loved the plant.

Smoking these early craft strains was like nothing I had ever experienced before, especially since the overall quality level of the swag I’d get in NJ was pretty low in the 1970s! This was until someone introduced me to New York Sour Diesel at a nightclub in NYC circa the mid-1980s. Nothing else smelled like that. Like sour cream, lemon curd, European gasoline, and roasted orange zest. To this very day, every time I smell Sour Diesel or the myriad of incarnates, I’m blasted back to that first hit of Sour Diesel and my experience of that day, so many years ago.

The Veritas Cannabis Sour Diesel reminds me of the years of wandering on the streets in Boston if you knew the right people of course… It’s what we smoked during weekends up in the New Hampshire mountains or up on MDI in Maine. It was this famous, now infamous Sour Diesel—probably grown in Western Massachusetts—or otherwise it was Blueberry, from Southern Maine. And that was it. And I’m pretty happy of those years of smoking flowers that remind me now of those years because they were formative in my experience of smoking truly gourmet/craft cannabis. Something that would follow me forward. This is quite important to me.

Every time that I smoke Sour Diesel I’m brought back to a day before yesterday, and it forces me to re-examine the flavors that are known as the classics. What Veritas has achieved is remarkable in this regard. I would like to make mention of a couple things before I dive into the tasting notes. Cannabis that is grown and cured in high altitude and dry places like Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada…smoking this cannabis I’ve discovered a big something shocking. (At least to me…) I react far differently with cannabis grown and cured at sea level. It’s just a different experience. I’ve done some experimentation on this axiom, purchased cannabis that has been grown at 6000 ft plus and opened the container at nearly sea level with lots of New Jersey humidity filling the room, well it’s an entirely different experience. In a plus way, certainly not a minus way.

Something biophysical takes place by growing and curing in a carefully engineered humidity adjusted space, but what I experienced at sea level was something completely different. I’m very impressed by the flavor and terpenes I sensed at 650 ft. instead of 6500 ft. The cannabis almost reacted like cryo-cured flower, dried, perfectly cured, and aged in a fraction of the time, leaving an end result that is encapsulated in time and space. And when I smoked it at 650 ft. with lots of humidity? What I experience is bliss…

Veritas Fine Cannabis: Sour Diesel

Nose: It’s that baby skunk that’s lurking under your bedroom window. Someone stuck a couple gallons of buttermilk under there too, the sour-lactate rich liquid is stuck up inside my nose. Coming into view, snapping a canna-flower in my fingers, I smell crushed, juniper wood smoked chiles, a tangle of caramelized lemongrass shards and slivers of just snipped back yard chives, sauteed in brown butter. This is friendly cannabis that layers the inside of my head with softly folded whipped cream and unleashes the nasal driven memories that say springtime in Portland, Maine-1986. The overall nose is sometimes salty, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, leading into the funky, but certainly- always memorable.

Mouthfeel: Veritas in Colorado has re-created the classic mouthfeel of Sour Diesel that some would say exemplify the early cannabis strains like New York Sour Diesel. Laden with European Petrol, Kerosene, and Baby Skunk, it’s unmistakable. Others say the classic Sour Diesel smells like citrus juices and cracked white pepper. I think it’s a combination of Pan-Asian spices, baby skunk and kerosine lamp oil. Citrus oils and the act of licking wet shells at the beach in the summer make your palate sing.

Veritas Sour Diesel unlocks my mind after inhalation. Remarkable in the depth of the experience. The mouthfeel is rich, savory, and full-bodied. After a couple small hits, I’m ready to experience the Veritas Sour Diesel in my Chill Bong- instead of my usual one hitter. The reason why I want to share the Chill Bong with you is the cooling experience that you feel when using this masterful piece of cannabis accoutrement.

Stone: This is not cannabis for the beginner. Of course, you have to start on the really strong stuff in your own way, but the pro-tip is take your time. There is no rush in cannabis, all those magical cultivars, so many that I forget which one is my favorite. I will say that Sour Diesel of Veritas Fine Cannabis is elegant and charming. It also gets me to another place with alacrity. There is no lack of amusement when imbibing Sour Diesel from Veritas Fine Cannabis. This is a Sativa that acts to help you get the job done. Scrub the tub, wash all the kitchen floors, take out the trash that is lurking in the hallway. There aren’t enough hours in the day because you’ll be full of steam to get all the things behind you and still other tasks to be hatched.

If Veritas Sour Diesel doesn’t take you to the next Bardo, I don’t know what will. Ok, you may not discover DF Tram on your own personal musical journey, but it did stimulate your inquisitive nature. This nug of perfectly cured cannabis is the Sour Diesel of my dreams. It takes me places that money can’t buy. Experience gleaned from emotion and being able to taste great cannabis like Veritas teaches me lessons not yet taught.


Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow

5 Questions Articles Skunk Magazine


What I received from Bountiful Farms was more than generous. The handsome wooden box, delineated with openings containing four pheno strains, and the question, which one would I choose if I were in charge of this quandary? Obviously, I’m not the one who would make that decision. But wouldn’t it be nice if my written notes on the flavor profiles could be taken into consideration and appreciated? 

Well, that seems like the answer to the question. 

I chose the Rainbow Belts 3.0 Pheno #22. It’s teeming with vaporous notes, crumpled salt-slicked seashells, crisp brioche toast soldiers bathed in molten brown butter, oozing with thimbles of green Chartreuse VEP and tangles of stone ground mustard at the finish. This is the essence of what I consider to be a most magnificent flower, perfectly cured with opulent droplets of pulled sugar and wisps of sticky Southern summer heat. The inexplicable scent of pluff mud, but only for a second, leads to deeper notes of roasted brown tea across my palate. The high/stone is quite cerebral, and then it becomes very emotional. 

Each draw into my lungs brings an extremely personal experience. Every hit comes easily, and that one offers a candy-colored kaleidoscope smearing over your view and scope like Vaseline applied over a motion picture camera’s lens. 

Warning: This is not cannabis for the neophyte or first-timer. It’s just more potent than most on the open market. But to a well-seasoned imbiber, Pheno #22 is truly pleasure-driven stuff. This is the brand of (kind) flower that lends itself well to cannabis-infused beverages or simply my Stonedware purse pipe for a quick hit. There are amazing terpenes that expose themselves to the scent-sensitive… So please pay attention before firing it up! 

If a simple cannabis cocktail were in the works, I’d use my Levo2 to decarb and then infuse some of this pheno into raw honey to speed me on my way to the other rainbow over yonder. Maybe add to your steamy pot of sophisticated essences some perfumed Jasmine Tea? Check your neighbor’s raw honey infused with an infusion of Rainbow Belts? That pheno? Oh, yes. A dosage of freshly juiced European cucumbers. Mix together and serve over a large cube of ice? 

Maybe some Chinola floated over the top? 


Are you reading my mind? Yes, yes, yes…. 

And what about that alley cat sitting on my lap? Only she knows for certain.  

cannabis world news interviews Zach Taylor holding award cup

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What brought you to the cannabis industry? It certainly is an enlightening industry. 

Zach Taylor: I’ve been around plants my entire life. When I was growing up, my father had an interior plant-scaping business, which is what initially sparked my passion for agriculture. My father would design various displays both from an aesthetic perspective as well as agricultural (i.e., which plants will thrive under certain conditions). This combination of art and science is parallel to what I do today as a grower. My father passed when I was 11, and if he were still alive today, I have no doubt we would have gone into the cannabis business together. He was the most knowledgeable plant whisper I know. Additionally, when I learned about cannabis and the life-changing benefits it can provide, I developed a passion for the human-cannabis relationship that has only gotten stronger each day.

I’ve been part of the medical cannabis industry since 2007, when I began growing as a caregiver under the initial medical cannabis statute in Colorado. I was one of the first 18-year-olds to receive a medical license in the state at the time and was one of the first 5,000 licensed employees in the country. Before Bountiful Farms, from 2011 to 2017, I managed cultivation at a large cannabis cultivator in Colorado, which provided me with a great foundation and a good understanding of growing at scale.

Today, I am the Chief Cultivation Center at Bountiful Farms in Massachusetts. We have a medical dispensary in Natick, MA, a 40,000-square-foot cultivation center in Lakeville, MA, and more than 100 retail partners who carry our products. I joined the Bountiful Farms team upon its inception in 2018 and am proud to have had the opportunity to grow it from the ground up and have been able to control the design of the space and how we operate. I equate it to a chef who’s working in a kitchen that they’ve designed – I’m fortunate to have that opportunity.

cannabis world news interviews three award cup trophies surrounded by foliage

WB: Please tell me about your company. What sets you apart from your competition? What kind of strains are you doing right now? Please tell me about the pheno-hunting exercise. 

ZT: Bountiful Farms is a commercial grower who focuses on craft cannabis, and we’re proud to be one of the most awarded growers in the state. We had the honor of winning “The Best Cannabis in Massachusetts” two years in a row in a People’s Choice blind taste test, which is pretty cool.

At Bountiful Farms, we’re focused on being “devoted to better,” and what I think sets us apart is our artisanal, “hand-made” approach. From hand trimming our flower to hand packaging, everything we do is completely hands-on. With a focus on quality and consistency, we look at the “whole plant” and all aspects of the plant, including how it looks, how it smells, the dry and the cure, how it smokes, and finally, the high itself. There is so much more to cannabis than just THC levels and price points – it’s important to look at the mind, body, and soul of the entire plant, and for us, it’s the unique combination of art and science. 

One of the most important parts of our cultivation process is our pheno hunt, which is the process we use to find the best strains with the most desirable characteristics that we’re looking for. 

At Bountiful Farms, in 2020, we conducted one of Massachusetts’ largest pheno hunts, beginning with 4000 seeds with superior genetic lineage from 30 breeders to help select the best strains to release in the market. In 2022, we went at it again, this time asking for some assistance from our customers. It’s selective agriculture, and for us, it is essentially planting a bunch of seeds, all of which showcase specific characteristics and qualities, and then deciding which phenotypic variation is the best representation of that strain. When we’re hunting, we’re looking at the whole picture – cannabinoid content, terpene profile, potency, color, the overall health of the plant, the yield, etc. At the end of the day, this means we’re proud of the genetics that we’re putting out into the market.

With our new Bounti Hunters at-home pheno hunt kits, we’re inviting our community and consumers to join us in this hunt and asking them to weigh in on our next strain, more specifically, the pheno that they feel best represents the genetic potential. In the kit, we are providing kits with two 1/8s of the same strain but with different phenos and asking people to provide feedback on each via a survey. We’re dedicated to innovation and education, and the best weapon against stigma or misconception is information and knowledge. That is really what our Bounti Hunters kit is all about.

We’ve always tried to elevate cannabis to the same level of scientific sophistication as other agricultural plants, and we recently opened a tissue culture lab at our cultivation center with the goal of genetic preservation and viroid-free tissue. Tissue culture is where our industry should be headed, and as growers of an agricultural plant, we’ve seen firsthand the devastation viruses and phenotypic plasticity can have on any crop, and our goal is to alleviate these variables in order to bring the best quality product to consumers. Without viroid-free plants, the cannabis sativa species is in jeopardy, and we could lose a huge percentage of the genetic lineage that helps make up the strains we all love, so this is hugely important to us and our industry.

cannabis world news interviews Bountiful Farms buds on bud jars

WB: When was the first time that you discovered the plant? How old were you? Do you remember who you were with? 

ZT: I began growing as a caregiver at an early age because I saw the life-changing benefits of the plant not only for myself but for my patients. My first patient was my best friend’s mom, who suffered from lupus, and to smoke with “Lady” was one of my favorite pastimes. 

WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals? Do you have a mentor? Who? 

ZT: We are always looking to innovate, experiment, and educate, so we’ll continue to do that in the coming months. And we’re constantly working on popping others’ gear as well as some of our own whilst trying to grow and produce the best possible strains for our consumers.

My mentor is my 90-year-old grandfather, who has taught me, amongst many things, two key components/ philosophies to live by: treat others how you want to be treated and never compromise or be afraid of failure – “chase your dreams.” We are all students/stewards of the plant, so I am learning something new every day.

WB: What is your passion?  

ZT: Outside of my family and my new baby, it may sound cliché, but I am living my passion every day with the work I get to do. I work with such an amazing community of people who all have a mutual love and respect for the plant, and I couldn’t ask for a better job. In fact, almost 18 years in, I do not see this as a job but as a way of life. 

Separate from cultivation, some people also find it interesting that I have a passion and appreciation for fashion. When I’m not wearing scrubs at the cultivation center, you can find me in a funky hat or pair of boots, and I love creating my own custom jackets. There’s something really cool about being able to express yourself through fashion. 

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Photo Credit: Bountiful Farms

5 Questions Skunk Magazine


When I eMet Patty on the interwebs, we were discussing trees, specifically ancient oak trees. We started talking about the plant—not the oak tree—and the way that it heals many ills. As ironic as it may sound, the lives of creative people find themselves in the company of other creatives because of the social lubricant known as cannabis. I was immediately taken by the passion and compassion that Patty has for the plant, and I wanted to get a read on what creative things she and her husband, Mark, are working on. And how I could help them get the word out on their documentary film, Nectarball: The Story of Cannabis.

Ah… Here goes!

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Now? What do you do?

Patty Mooney: Mark Schulze and I are originally from the Midwest but have lived in San Diego since 1970 (Mark) and 1977 (Patty). We met on Valentine’s Day in 1982 and have been sharing adventures together ever since. We own and operate San Diego’s longest-serving video production company, Crystal Pyramid Productions (est. 1981 by Mark). Another company of ours is New & Unique Videos (est. 1985), a producer and distributor of educational special-interest titles.
Our latest project is a documentary called “NECTARBALL: The Story of Cannabis.”

cannabis world news media promo poster for Necterball: The Story of Cannabis documentary
Photo credit: Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney

Warren Bobrow: You mentioned filmmaking. Documentary filmmaking. A soft spot for me with a film degree from Emerson. Please tell me about what you have been working on. What is it about documentary film that evokes such emotion?

Patty Mooney: Mark and I produced the first educational videos of their genre back in the 1980s. As video production gear was super expensive, only a few brave souls – like us – invested in themselves and their ideas. we pioneered videos like “Massage for Relaxation” (1985), “The Great Mountain Biking Video” (1987), “The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans” (2008), and several others. One of our earliest titles, “California Big Hunks” (1985), mystifyingly enough (to us) has earned cult status via appearances on Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Whose Line is it Anyway? And RedLetterMedia’s “Best of the Worst: Black Spine Edition #3,” which has now been seen by over 3.1 million viewers.

Our titles were successful because they were new and unique (thus, the name “New & Unique Videos”), and people were beginning to establish their personal VHS video libraries. In the late 1990s, as VHS sales began to wane, Mark and I returned to our earlier business model, shooting and producing video for corporate and broadcast clients.

All these decades of producing videos for Fortune 500 companies and shows like Inside Edition, Extra, Oprah, etc., have led us to now; the production of our latest documentary, “NECTARBALL: The Story of Cannabis,” featuring 52 cannabis luminaries (out of 165 interviewees). We traveled around the world to meet and interview them over a seven-year period. We went to North and South America, Europe, and South Africa. We asked all the questions we could think of regarding cannabis as medicine, building materials, food, and more. We received some important answers from people like Tommy Chong, Steve DeAngelo, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Nurse Heather Sobel, RN, and so many more. The documentary is structured so that the interviewees tell the story of cannabis from its history, through prohibition, to now and the future, as we focus on the medicinal capabilities, usages, and effects of the plant on the human body. What is it about documentaries that evoke such emotion? People telling the truth from their perspective, reflecting the reality of the moment without embellishment.

Warren Bobrow: What is the topic? How long does it run? What is the premise?

Patty Mooney: The topic is Cannabis. “NECTARBALL: The Story of Cannabis” is 82 minutes long. It’s jam-packed with the wisdom of many. You can imagine that the state of Cannabis legalization varies from country to country and city to city. It has been interesting to check in on places where the plant has been freed and what some of the results are. For instance, in states where cannabis has been legalized for “Adult Use,” both opioid use and alcohol use have gone DOWN. Nobody wants to be comatose from opioids. The option of a gentle plant medicine to maintain and possibly arrest diseases such as arthritis, seizures, and cancer is a welcome idea, especially for seniors like us. It’s just a bit scary for older folks to let go of the stigma that has been pounded into their heads for most, if not all, their lives since the 1930s.

While in South Africa, we visited several social clubs where cannabis is the social lubricant that attracts a “mixed salad” of people with varied skin tones. Cannabis was decriminalized there in 2018 for personal use. You must be a member to enter these social clubs. Some of the most potent weed we have ever imbibed was at The Pottery in Port Elizabeth (now renamed Gqeberha), South Africa.

It was amazing to visit the Montevideo Cannabis Museum in Uruguay. It was the first country to legalize cannabis, abortion, and gay marriage. Ergo, Uruguay is far more progressive than the USA.

Warren Bobrow: Do you have a mentor? Who? And who taught you the craft of filmmaking? What about cannabis? What does outdoor cannabis represent to you?

Patty Mooney: Mark gained his video production education at UCSD, majoring in Communications and Sociology. Both Tommy Chong and Rich “Cheech” Marin were mentors to him during the 1970s when the comedy duo frequently appeared at The Comedy Club in La Jolla. Mark would hang out with them at the age of 20, bringing them “offerings” of Nectarball (what he named the sativa cultivar he grew back then). One time Mark shared a photo of a tall, girthy bud. Cheech quipped, “The plant that ate Chicago!” The cannabis plants appearing in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie were modeled after Mark’s Nectarball plants.

When Mark and I first met at La Paloma Theater on Valentine’s Day 1982, I was about to appear as a singer in the chorus in a play entitled “Pandora or If Transformation is Supposed to be So Much Fun, Why Am I Gritting My Teeth?” There was only one performance to benefit The Hunger Project. Mark was setting up a video camera to videotape the show from the balcony. I was curious about his camera and walked over to meet him. I’d only seen one other VHS camera before. But with a mother who filmed every milestone moment of our family of eight on a Hi8 camera my dad had won from his sales prowess as a Chrysler Midwest district sales manager, I already knew I loved the medium. And what an entrée to “the business.” Beginning there and then, Mark began mentoring me in the video realm. And when I look back on that moment, I realize that our desire to perform philanthropic deeds throughout our life together began to bud then.

Several beloved and wise people have mentored us. Gina Powell has been a mother to us for decades. Her husband was Robert Powell (also a mentor), author of inspirational philosophical books including “The Blissful Life.” Recently, Keiko Beatie and John Salley, both of whom appear in the video sharing their wisdom, have been mentoring us.

Filmmaking was in its infancy when we first began producing, shooting, and editing video. There were a few manuals we consumed, including The Television Production Handbook by Herbert Zettl (now in its 12th edition). The first edition was printed in 1976, and that’s the one we used. Many we learned by doing. I am a proud graduate of the “Get Thrown to the Wolves” school of video production. On my very first gig as an audio mixer at the San Diego Comic Con, I bopped Lucy Liu on the top of her head with the boom pole. My life flashed in front of my eyes; my career ended before it began! “Oh, I am so sorry, Ms. Liu!” “Don’t worry about it!” she said. What a sweetie. Outdoor cannabis represents many things. Back in the 1970s, when Mark grew cannabis in various locations, there was always a chance that he could get busted by police, taken away in cuffs, and possibly losing home and livelihood. It was bad. Our Green Closet confinement continued into the 1980s. A thief with designs to steal Mark’s Nectarball Collection of buds he had collected since 1972 held us at gunpoint. (He did not get away with the collection.) I was once arrested by two roving cops on bicycles at the beach while I was sitting on the beach wall having a puff. They rifled through my butt pouch and found – gasp!!! – a bud in a film can. For that horrific crime, I was fined $100 (a lot of money back then.) Now, outdoor cannabis represents the freedom to grow a plant in your own backyard and use it for medicine AND as a social lubricant. Why not both? The scent of lolling, crystal-embedded buds near harvest time is so amazing. It’s all about the terpenes, man!

cannabis world news media image of Mark Schulze and Patty with Tommy ChongMooney
Photo credit: Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney

Warren Bobrow: What is your passion?

Patty Mooney: It’s nice that we share various passions since they aid in the enjoyment of life. Of course, cannabis is a big one. It’s the cornerstone of good health for us. Next comes mountain biking. We have been mountain biking together since 1986. Less than a year later, we got married with our mountain bikes in the local mountains of San Diego and even began racing for a while. We still ride together. Patty won first place in the Sagebrush Safari 20-mile race this past year in the women’s category at the age of 68. Mark came in second in his category. It’s a sport that takes us out deep into nature, where we can reach places of beauty. As often as possible, we ride to the “Wedding Spot,” lay out a blanket next to a spring-fed stream, share a bottle of wine and have a puff, watch the dragonflies and the butterflies, and enjoy the shade of an ancient old oak and a 120-foot pine tree. Travel adventures are so much fun. We don’t have children or pets, so we can fly away at a moment’s notice.

We have a passion for video production, aka filmmaking. A filmmaker can create a movie that touches, educates, and moves people you may never meet. And that is exactly what we hope to do with our film, “NECTARBALL: The Story of Cannabis.” We want people to understand the kinds of tools for the improvement of their health that are available to them. We want to eradicate the stigma about the plant. We want to help the world be a better place for all of us to live a “high-quality life.”

The film will enjoy its live virtual World Premiere on October 20, 2023, beginning at 6:30 PM (PT), when people can gather, enjoy a beverage, and smoke a bowl in the comfort of their homes. The 82-minute show begins at 7:30 PM, and then we’ll have a Q&A with special guests, including John Salley, Nurse Heather, and Keiko Beatie. Tickets for this exclusive showing are limited to the first 500 people who sign up and are going fast. So, purchase your tickets before it’s too late!

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Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Instagram: warrenbobrow