We sat down with the father and son team to talk all things cannabis
Entrepreneurs who turn their dreams into reality with no backing are always a heart warming reminder that working hard will pay off in the end. Enter the Father & Son team of George and Cody Sadler at San Diego based Platinum Vape.
We sat down with the co-founding family to discuss their rise across the national cannabis scene from a simple startup in a garage, as well as the future plans of their brand.
*the following interview was edited for time and clarity*
MRR: To start, what made you guys want to get into the cannabis industry originally?
George Sadler: Actually it was my son that originally brought us into the cannabis industry. Eight years ago he came into my office said, “Hey, what do you think about growing marijuana?” and we just went from there. We started growing first, with our first grow being just six lights in our garage. Then, we went to a delivery service because we couldn’t sell the product that we were growing. Then a large scale grow and then we went into stores. It’s been great!
MRR: Now that we are a year into the adult use industry in California, how’s that transition been for you?
Cody Sadler: It’s been great for us. Yeah. It was pretty smooth overall.
MRR: Regulations weren’t too crazy?
George: It is, but that’s what you buy into. You know what I mean? I think going through the trenches is kind of like a badge, you know, going through Prop 215 and all those things that went on, kinda got you ready for licensing.
MRR: The vaporizer issue has been going on, since the injuries are happening in the illicit market, do you think that will help bolster the legal market?
Cody: I would hope so. We did a couple things to play off when Michigan banned flavored e-cigarettes. In a couple of stores where customers brought in their flavored e-cigarettes, we would actually swap those e-cigarettes out for free and give them a CBD hemp pen of ours. You know, just to get that out there and get a better product in their hand. Hopefully it just sheds light on the unlicensed industry.
MRR: You are in Michigan and California, are there any additional markets you are interested in right now?
Cody: The next we’re launching in is Nevada and that’s coming next month. So Michigan, California, Nevada and then we’ll make the decision from there.
MRR: When you are looking at a new market, what goes into the strategy working with retailers in that market?
George: I think it’s that you tailor yourself to whatever the needs are for that market, and that’s kind of the benefit on our part is that we’re capable because it’s just us. We don’t have big money or people backing us. We can tailor whatever we need to to that market.
MRR: What’s the best way for retailers to talk about and make sure consumers understand your product?
George: Education is the big part of it. So our platform is important not only for, you know, getting people to understand our product, but also for getting people understand our brand.
Cody: As you can see we’re a brand that is open for everyone because all of our products are microdose. All of our edibles are five milligrams. So you can get into it easy and you don’t have to be worried about overdosing when you try it for the first time. So it’s also a little bit easier for newcomers to get into the market with our products.
MRR: Are you seeing consumers confidence growing around edibles?
Cody: Oh yeah. I mean now they’re getting an exact dose. You know, before regulations, you had no idea what’s in a lot of edibles, but now they can. The product has been tested and it’s measured to an exact dose. You don’t have to be worried about it and you can start to understand your limit, you know, like drinking a beer or anything else.
George: Dosing is especially important on the edible side because edibles are dangerous in ways for people that are just starting. No one wants to take that uncomfortable ride on an edible that you can’t get off of. It’s a tough one. So now, with the dosing side, people can now go, okay, five milligrams, I can cut in half, two and a half milligrams, let it do its thing for a little bit. You know what I mean? Versus before where it’s like you grab a chocolate bar, thousand milligrams and the consistency is, it’s not there. Now, it is.
MRR: CBD has been a skyrocketing cannabinoid as of late. Are you looking at additional cannabinoids for your products?
Cody: We just launched our CBD line. We add a lot of CBN into our products, just part of that CBD line, but you know, slowly getting into some things like Delta 8’s and that kind of stuff as well.
MRR: So do you see alternative cannabinoids as growing portion of the market?
Cody: It is because it’s going to be used as medicine. Not all people want it just to be stoned and stuff, they want to actually use the product for medical purposes. It’s especially true for newcomers that have never consumed before. So yeah, it helps open it up for everyone.
MRR: What do you guys see as the political landscape for cannabis rolling into 2020?
Cody: I mean, it changes literally monthly. So it’s tough to say.
George: I really believe that it’s so accepted now and not just on the side of people investing, but people investing their life into this. Understanding that it’s okay at whatever level you choose to enter into this as a consumer, and now you’re starting to see it way more accepted. I think on the legal side and on the political side when they see their constituents driving that direction, if they weren’t pro-cannabis before, they’ll have to become pro-cannabis because they have to be agile with what’s going on in their cities. So they have to accept it in some way or they don’t get voted back in.
Cody: I think we’re also kind of helping with that, with REACT which is our social equity program. So we do things for like breast cancer awareness, veterans, ext. We actually made boxes for each individual social equities and we give back monthly now on all those cases.
MRR: Speaking about philanthropic efforts, can you talk a little bit about what made you want to start charitable donations with your brand?
Cody: I think we have such a good platform with REACT. This cannabis industry has always been for the patients, that’s how it started, but no one has actually given back. It’s always been for profit. Brands made money off the patients but there was never a give back situation. Now people can help make a donation simply by purchasing the product they were already going buy.
MRR: I love the branding on your line. What went into that thought process for that?
George: So I think the bigger part of this was initially when we first started, when we first launched Platinum Vape, we were just like anybody else. We are the black and gold, the dark silver, and all around kind of dark. To us, that was the back in the day, the non-regulated, unlicensed. When we went for licensing, that’s when we made the decision to go, okay, it’s kind of like coming out to the world. We use that as that analogy. We then said, now we’re licensed, now we can brand. Now we can market a full spectrum push.
Cody: It’s just a welcoming brand. Anyone can come and look at it and it doesn’t push you away.
MRR: What’s the one message you want to give to retailers about your brand saying, “Hey, you should have us.”
George: I think the biggest thing is support on the retail side and that’s what you’ll get if you’re asking a retailer that currently has our product. I think they’ll come back and say, these guys are full support. Not just like, “Hey, let’s put it on the shelf.” We’re support all the way through the whole process of selling it, and that’s what has allowed us to do in store in a store. We were the first one in the market to do a store in store. We started with one in San Diego, we just finished one in Beverly Hills at BARC. We’ve got to think 12 to 13 more that are going up here in California, we’ve got 18 going to Michigan, and they’re coming to us, not the other way around.
Cody: We stand behind our product. We do what we say we’re going to do and it’s creating a good product. A good vibe for a great price.
MRR: What goes into that process?
Cody: Really it’s how open the retailer is and how they want to work with us. So we mold ourselves to them and help out in any way we can. We do custom store boxes. We have a BARC box for instance where it’s almost like a new age white label. The retailer can sell a product that they know sells and they enjoy, but with their name and logos and everything on it. So it’s kind of a cool way of them standing behind us as well as themselves. Honestly, it’s just whatever they want to do.
They work with our people and pick their strain, they pick whatever it is they want to use. No one else will ever have that strain and it’s like we let them design everything, whatever they want.
MRR: What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
George: Working our ass off. The REACT program is exploding, and that’s great because it’s something that we really have a lot of passion for so seeing that side of it is huge. So we’re excited for what the future has in store for us.