Oct 24, 2018
The time has come to get mellow and kick back my friends, as today we are lucky enough to have with us the Luke Skywalker of the cannabis industry, namely the cannabis pioneer Brad Melshenker. Brad is the founder of California and Colorado based 710 Labs, which in short is a standard-setting collective of passionate artists and cannabis rock stars renowned for its award-winning innovations and obsession with producing a myriad of quality products as they play a starring role in evolving the cannabis craft. On a side note, for those who are non-consumers, new to the industry or simply trivia geeks like myself, “710” happens to be not only the second most popular weed holiday, but “Oil” (i.e., a catch-all term for concentrates, extracts, and other hash products) spelled backwards and upside down. When Brad isn’t blazing new trails in the cannabis industry, creating boutonnières or dog collars made primarily of marijuana buds and leaves worn, respectively, by him and his groomsmen and three dogs at his wedding, or metaphorically passing the pipe around the country as he shares his knowledge of the history of glass pipe making and the artists who have created them, in a book aptly titled “This is a Pipe,” his passions are those of his wife Lauren and his daughters Callie and Lucy, rooting for THE Ohio State University football team and his beloved 2018 Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals.
At 3:25, Brad touches upon incarceration due to cannabis related offenses, and how taxation could alternatively provide tax dollars to improve schools and infrastructure. At 5:01, Brad talks about the “fun rollercoaster” he has been on thus far, and moving to Boulder, Colorado to open the fourth ever dispensary in Boulder (and the first to introduce concentrates to Colorado). At 7:33, he discusses finding a landlord that was ok with his business, and ultimately the “battle” with the landlord that later ensued. At 8:45, Brad describes the situation in which the city of Boulder approached him and notified him that he couldn’t operate his business in a mixed-use building due to new code that was put in place. At 8:59, he shares the hurdles he faced in 2014 when his recently relocated 15,000 SF grow facility was robbed overnight, and sadly as a consequence, the city revoked all of Brad’s licenses. At 11:09, Brad discusses his failures and the lessons learned along the way, which lead to selling his business in Boulder and relocating to Denver. At 12:39, he touches upon the joy of waking up every day getting to do what he loves. At 14:16, Brad advises how 710 Labs is pushing boundaries, stepping outside of the box, setting trends, and going the extra mile to create quality products. At 15:58, he talks about his great partnership with Jason Post, the financier and active partner behind the business. At 17:12, Brad points out the importance of being true to yourself, happy with who you are, and not trying to be someone that you are not. At 19:33, he dives into how he and 710 Labs master their craft, quality and production. He compares it to the 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi (specifically perfecting one task for some time before moving on to a new task to perfect). At 21:00, Brad gives us his take on risk, how to mitigate it, and why entrepreneurs have to take risk. At 21:54, he said, “We are just [...] entering the first inning of the baseball game. It’s been pregame [...]. Now it’s really when we have to start addressing those risks a little more seriously.” At 23:47, Brad notes that his company is 100% compliant - don’t break the law when technically you’re breaking law (meaning those of the federal and not state governments)! At 24:10, he sees this business as a once in a lifetime, generational type of business, and would love to see his kids run the business. At 26:01, Brad shares that little or no research has been done on “the plant,” and thus far the United States has only given the University of Mississippi a license to grow and conduct research on cannabis. At 27:57, he explains the risk on the real estate side, and how he has to be upfront with his investors in regards to the risk. At 30:44, Brad tells a story of the time where he and his partners purchased a piece of dirt in Desert Hot Springs, California. At 34:08, he talks about branding, evolving products, and 710 Labs newly introduced ice pack program. At 35:18, Brad discusses his recently released book, “This is a Pipe,” and how glass artists are taking their games to a new level. At 39:08, he points out that money has never been the driving force, and instead the motivation is in building a successful company and culture where employees are happy and creating great products. At 40:44, Brad touches upon compliance, and not dipping in the grey area. At 42:09, he dishes on how to handle rejection; simply by keeping your head down, blocking out the noise, and pushing forward. At 43:48, Brad informs us of his mantra of not making decisions out of fear or shame. At 44:34, he said that hard work is part of the game. Work at what you love and it will come! At 45:37, Melshenker paints us a picture of his happy place - the crashing waves at the beach.