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Cannabis Innovator: JonnyB | Interview


When it comes to great cannabis moments and legendary cannabis people, JonnyB is one of the greats. He has judged cannabis cups in Amsterdam, lived with Jerome Baker in Hawaii and worked alongside all the legends of the cannabis community.


I first met JonnyB at the Champs Tradeshow in Las Vegas, where we had a nice conversation but didn’t hit it off as friends yet. I knew he was investing in a new operation called Green Gene Genetics, but it wasn’t until six months later that we both met up with our mutual friends from the band Fortunate Youth, at their show in Phoenix. JonnyB pulled through the backstage gate driving a beautiful Shelby Cobra. The concert was amazing and our conversations that day were equally amazing. I enjoyed hearing his first hand stories about legendary cannabis moments in California and Amsterdam that I had only previously read about, in High Times Magazine, during my highschool years.

Jonny is the one who taught me that weed is meant to be grown for show, not for dough! The “dough” will always be there because this beautiful plant sells itself.

This month, with the dawn of legalization upon us, I couldn’t think of a better person to offer some advice and wisdom about legalization and the great American cannabis industry. So without any further ado, please welcome JonnyB… (audible clapping from audience)

JonnyB

Let’s start with some foresight on cannabis legalization. What are your concerns about legalization in Arizona?

I’m very excited about the upcoming vote for Recreational cannabis, and we have been working hard to get ready for it. Everyone please get out there and vote….. This is the year to win. I don’t have too many concerns about legalization in general, because we have seen great success with our Medical program here, and in many other states who have gone from Medical to Rec. It’s only going to get better. I see similar supply & demand issues that are happening in other states, but it will all work itself out. We’re going from ~300k patients in the Medical program to anyone over 21 who wants it with Rec. It’s gonna be a fun challenge with many opportunities. Phoenix is a big city, and we’re going to have to grow a lot more cannabis to meet demand once Rec starts.


Did you vote yes for prop 207?

Absolutely.

JonnyB-in-office

How long have you been in the cannabis industry?

I grew up in Maine where we had GREAT weed. When I went to college in Boston, I didn’t have the good quality connections that I had back in Maine, so I decided to learn to grow for myself. It was the only way for me to always have the quality that I wanted and knew was out there.


I grew my first plants in 1989, and made EVERY mistake possible (If the directions said use 1ml per gallon, I’d use 10ml). The only resources we had were High Times magazine and a few books. No YouTube, no internet, no forums etc. I fumbled around with it for a few years, then I transferred to ASU in 1991. I got my degree from ASU in Supply Chain Management, but to really understand what I was doing with my “Hobby”, all my electives were in Botany and other Plant Sciences. This really helped me out… Then I started travelling to Amsterdam and Vancouver to meet some of the people who I was reading about, and to “Research” genetics. I met some amazing Cannabis Cup winning breeders over there and am still very close with many of them. I learned alot from these guys and kept going back to Amsterdam every year to attend the Cannabis Cup and soak up the scene.


Luckily, in 2009 I accidentally invented The Digger One Hitter – thediggeronehitter.com. It was literally the simplest product idea and I was able to get a patent. This was my chance to have a legitimate business reason to attend all these cannabis events in Europe, and start my 420 Products company. I had The Digger One Hitter booth at all the events in Europe, and I started attending CHAMPS Trade Shows in Las Vegas. I met distributors from all over the world at CHAMPS, and they picked up my products to distribute to @30,000 smoke shops around the world. CHAMPS is the best trade show to attend if you have a new 420 product or idea that you want to get to market. 

JonnyB

A few years later, I was living and growing for some dispensaries in San Diego. This was about the time the whole dabbing scene started and dispensaries were starting to carry extracts. I was trying to grow my 420 Products biz with more items and was working on a new silicone product called The Smashtray. It was an ashtray that you could bang your glass pipe on and not worry about breaking it. It was the only silicone ashtray at CHAMPS for a while, and we made that for a few years. We kept our dab tools on the Smashtray and realized that they didn’t stick to the silicone, like a glass or plastic ashtray. This gave me the idea to make a threaded concentrate jar from Nonstick Silicone and NoGoo nogoo.com was born in 2012. We then added many more products to build the NoGoo brand and lineup. Around the same time I started ERRL GEAR errlgear.com to supply all the dabbing accessories (Quartz, Titanium, etc). I have a warehouse in Indiana where all my products are distributed from. I love working on new 420 Products / Accessories ideas and the whole creative and manufacturing process. We have something totally new and unique coming out next year for consumers and dispensaries. This product has taken us almost 3yrs to bring to market and I’m excited to finally get it out there. I KNOW it’s going to be a hit.


In 2013, I started living on Maui during the hot AZ summer months. It actually worked out a lot better than I thought because I was 4 hours closer to my factories overseas. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get any work done from Maui, but it worked out great. I have a whole crew of knucklehead hippie friends down there and we have a blast. I was able to run my business remotely, so I kept doing it for the next five years. I spent 6 months on Maui, and the other 6 months travelling to 420 trade shows and Cup Events to rep my brands and products. I always wanted my own smoke shop, so my brother and I opened up The Burning Moose Smoke Shop, in my hometown back in Maine in 2015. We’re hoping to get our Rec license back there soon too.


In 2018, I had the opportunity to get involved with G3 and GenXtracts as Director of Sales, and investor. I jumped at the chance. I was really looking for this kind of opportunity, so I moved back to AZ from Maui full time. I really love the position because I’m extremely passionate about cannabis and the amazing people in the cannabis community. I’ve known the guys at G3 for over 10 years, and I love what we’re doing there. It’s not “Work” for me, It’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 30 plus years, and I love it now more than ever.


How will Arizona adapt to the new testing regulations?

Good question…. We’re mainly concerned with the turnaround time from the labs. Lately we have been experiencing some delays which is creating a bottleneck. I hope the labs can handle the volume in a timely manner, because we need to keep the supply chain moving.

JonnyB
 

Thank you for these insights and thank you for continuing to nurture such solid relationships in the global cannabis community. Green Gene Genetics and GenXtracts cannabis products are available on dispensary shelves valleywide.

 


Michael Cassini

Michael Cassini is the founder and editor in chief of The Cannabis Cactus Magazine. He focuses on community relationships with a goal to maintain a culture of love, peace and knowledge in the cannabis industry.

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