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I’ve traveled out to see Canndescent near Palm Springs, California when they were still a pretty small company. They had some really big dreams and were well on their way to massive success when last I touched base. I’d read that they had secured some massive funding and they were ramping up production to satisfy the need for truly elegant, top-of-the-house cannabis. Fast forward to present day. Canndescent is a market leader in the niche of craft cannabis and with legalization moving eastward and new markets opening, the world of legal cannais doesn’t seem like such a small place any longer. Canndescent is growing organically and the legal cannabis market is finding out that quality and quantity are no longer misnomers. They mean the top end of the world, that rare place where quality translates into profit!
WB: Where are you from? What brought you to where you are now? When did you first discover cannabis? How old were you?
AS: I’m from NYC, was a prep school kid, and have great memories passing the time with my friends in Sheep Meadow with a dime bag of schwaggy weed. The first time I got high I coughed my lungs out late at night in the playground of PS 6 on East 81st Street. While I never quite made the varsity stoner team in high school or college, I definitely had hundreds of experiences before my early 20s until I stopped consuming after a really negative experience, where I got really paranoid.
WB: Tell me about your current state? What is your success story? Where do you see yourself in six months? A year?
AS: Since 2016 when our product released, Canndescent has been the #1-selling, top shelf cannabis flower in California, the most competitive cannabis market on the planet. We now employ over 200 people, all of whom are shareholders. We’re projecting light into the lives of our employees, their families, our consumers, retail partners, shareholders, and vendors. Creating win-wins is how we define success, and growth and profit generally accompany a mindset of creativity and abundance.
Now that we have won our beachhead in California, we’re scaling our operation and entering other markets. We’re expanding our product lines and brands while adding new geographies and distribution channels. This year we launched oils, pre-roll multi-packs, and will launch our first edibles in Q3 and Q4. Also, we have deals under contract in Nevada, Michigan, and Massachusetts.
Six months and six years from now, we’ll be working on the same basic exercise, setting the standard for the cannabis industry and creating an iconic consumer brand.
WB: Tell me about your company. What do you do that is different and therefore intriguing? What sets you apart from your peers?
AS: The word Canndescent means “to project light,” and that is what our company does. Our brand statement is “Canndescent empowers adults turn down the noise, unlock the moment, and transform their lives with exceptional cannabis products.” We are guides helping the consumer, our hero, to navigate the cannabis category, so they can realize a better life with each experience.
We were the first cultivator to abandon traditional strain names and curate cannabis flower by effect, moving from names like Durban Poison and Cat Piss to Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge. We built the first municipally-permitted cultivation site in California, opened the first industry bank account to deposit funds legally in the Federal Reserve Bank of LA, were the first to give stock options to all employees, were the first to print test results on our products, and we’re the first to build a commercial-scale solar project in the industry.
What sets us apart is we adore our customers and have a culture of excellence and gratitude that labors to make our products aspirational works that create moments of joy from unboxing through consumption. No detail is overlooked or too small. With Canndescent, people can be more calm, cruise a little lighter, create more inspired, connect more deeply, and charge into the world to make it a better place. That’s what sets us apart.
WB: What is your favorite kind of food? Do you have a favorite restaurant? Do you cook? Who taught you?
AS: For whatever reason, I’m partial to a great baked potato or a perfectly grilled and juicy chicken breast. While I’m not a huge fan of eating out, my wife and I love a restaurant called Barbareno in Santa Barbara.
I learned to cook in my mom’s kitchen growing up, but I also took a couple years of cooking classes during high school on Thursday nights at a cooking school called Peter Kump.
WB: If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would that be? Doing what? With whom?
AS: It’s 5:56pm on the 4th of July, and I’m about to head over to a friends boat in Santa Barbara harbor. Right now, I’m exactly where I want to be in the world, typing a response to a Forbes reporter, and working to make Canndescent the most iconic consumer brand on the planet. I’m blessed with tremendous opportunity, an amazing wife, incredible kids, and have so much gratitude for being exactly where I am at this very moment. My gratitude teaches me nothing is missing. Excellence convinces me, nothing is right and everything can be better. Living at that intersection is where I want to remain and hang out with whoever wants to join me.
July 7, 2019 at 02:07PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs