David Pellicane is the owner of Nashville Hemp and is a political activist who supports common-sense drug laws and several environmental issues.
He also worked for large corporations in a high-stress job environment. Due to strains and like many kids whose parents are smokers, he also picked up the cigarette habit. But after years of smoking traditional cigarettes, he felt the urge to quit when his wife had a pregnancy. During those times, he learned about electronic cigarettes which helped him to be able to quit smoking immediately.
E-cigarettes changed David’s life, and he did not need a doctor to confirm how much better and healthier he felt. He knew they could help others too. So with a few thousand dollars, David formed a small company, built a simple website, bought 25 electronic cigarette starter kits and opened Nashville Vapor on Charlotte Pike in 2011.
In this episode, find out how he got hooked in the CBD industry, his passion for sharing knowledge with people on the plant and maintains professionalism in this space.
I think that the climate has changed a lot because of the introduction of CBD into the public market space and we’re hoping the progress keeps moving in the right direction. – David Pellicane
Some Topics We Discussed Include
3:10 – David’s CBD beginnings
7:48 – Opinion on Common-sense Drug Law
10:14 – Restricting THC use
17:51 – Addressing tobacco and cannabis to consumers
21:58 – Roadblocks along with the CBD industry
28:14 – Product selection
33:03 – Best selling products
37:29 – US vs. China consumers
39:44 – Trusting the source of information
52:28 – Words of wisdom
1:03 – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with David Pellicane
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado super excited to be here with you on another episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast where we are diving deep into the backgrounds and journeys stories of the people behind the products that you know and love. In today’s episode, we are going to be speaking to an incredible owner of Nashville Hemp, Mr. David Pellicane. Yes, he is Italian. I figured that out before the interview. He’s also a political activist who supports common-sense drug laws and some environmental issues. In today’s episode, we are going to be diving deep into what’s happening in the hemp revolution in the green rush and all of the things surrounding this incredible reform and major disruption to our healthcare industry. Help me welcome, Mr. David Pellicane, how you doing?
David Pellicane: Doing all right. Thanks so much for having me on. I’m looking forward to having a little talk with you and see we’ll try and do stuff we can cover. So, thank you.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, me too. Um, first of all, for those of you guys who cannot see the video, there’s a gorgeous guitar behind David right now and at some point, I’m going to peer pressure him into playing that thing.
David Pellicane: That’s a nice one. It’s 1955 Gibson, J200. So, you can’t really live in Nashville without having a couple of old Gibson guitars. So yeah, that appreciate that.
Sonia Gomez: Hell yeah, man I used to sing with a flamenco guitar player. And yeah, it was such fun and my father’s Argentinian. And so much of my time in high school and with my friends was around playing music. We kicked off this whole thing called anti-radio where we will pulling in kids from all the different neighborhoods and we would like to get people to sponsor their warehouses and stuff and let us like, go into the warehouse and some people would be doing graffiti and some people would be playing music and other people would be like trying to figure out the beat machines or you know, like spoken word, but we just created a hub for like the misfits to get together and express their creativity. And we called it anti-radio because our stuff was never going to get played on the radio and we didn’t want it to we just wanted to you know…
David Pellicane: Be creative and do this thing-
Sonia Gomez: He left the fuck alone- it’s like to do to express ourselves and like have fun and it was cool. And still to this day, like a bunch of my friends are running it down in San Diego and it was really cool. Like, it’s turned more into like a party rather than making music. But when I was running, I was like, making music-
David Pellicane: Well, partying and music always go hand in hand as if either is done the right way. So that sounds pretty cool.
Sonia Gomez: I partied in the right way.
David Pellicane: Yeah, I think we all have one point.
David’s CBD Beginnings
Sonia Gomez: Super fun. Okay, so all intros aside, I want to hear straight from the horse’s mouth where you’re from. How did you end up in this in this canna history or CBD conundrum?
David Pellicane: Yeah, I grew up in New York. I moved to Nashville in 2006. So it’s been about 13 years now. I started another company in 2011, called Nashville Vapor, which was an electronic cigarette company. Opened up a couple of stores around Middle Tennessee we have four locations for that for right now. I don’t know how long that’s going to last because we’ve got a lot of challenges about it as well, but I got into it for essentially the same reason I got into the hemp industry which was essential, I saw it as a tool for harm reduction, a better alternative to people for, you know, smoking cigarettes. My dad died of cancer when he was 51 years old. So I knew that smoking was bad news. I used to be a smoker when for a long time from, 15-20 years or something. But yeah, I guess about two years ago, CBD started to become this thing that a lot of people were talking about. People were coming into our national vape for the electronic cigarettes store asking for it. And I had always been, I guess the best way to put it Is pro-legalization and pro-cannabis in any capacity. So I thought okay this could warrant its own business so we started up national hemp last year. We’ve been open for a little over a year now and it’s been an interesting journey there’s been a handful of setbacks I guess is probably the way to put it. But overall the experience you know, with it is has been fantastic.
I mean, when we were first opening up the store and we were putting a sign out front that said Nashville Hemp, we were one of the first you know, hemp dispensaries I guess, in the area in Nashville, and before we even opened the doors, somebody had said they were going to throw a brick through our windows. They didn’t want any, you know, marijuana stuff coming into their neighborhood. I thought Oh, great, you know, this is hopefully not an indication of how things are going to be. But with and no time, public perception and you know, we’re not in Colorado so we don’t have quite as progressive laws out here in Tennessee as you guys have. But yeah, really quickly the response was great and people’s opinions about it started to change almost immediately because just to give you an example the guy who owns the space that we rented for thinking his mother is like 85-87 years old or something probably had never had any interaction with cannabis in our whole life, was dealing with some serious arthritis problems, started using CBD and changed their lives and that seems to be the reception that we’re getting almost everywhere. As I’m sure it’s genuinely helping people with several different ailments. And for a lot of people, they’re using it to get off of other drugs, opiates, mainly, some people are just cutting down. And some people this is all they’re using and this is the first thing that’s been able to give them relief in anything for anything that they tried.
So, right now I think that the climate has changed a lot because of the introduction of CBD into the public market space, I guess. And now we’re hoping the progress keeps moving in the right direction.
Opinion on Common-Sense Drug Law
Sonia Gomez: What do you– what in your definition is common-sense drug law?
David Pellicane: Well common sense drug law for me, right off the bat is making sure that people who are non-violent offenders aren’t criminals, that right off the bat is the number one issue. Growing up in the music world, where cannabis use is always been pretty [inaudible] amongst musicians. I’ve seen friends who’ve had their whole lives were taken away, who’d been locked up behind bars, and still to this day dealing with the repercussions of being arrested for something that they never used to hurt anybody else. The flip side of it is, the way that I see things as an American there’s nothing written into the constitution that says what we can or what we cannot put into our bodies. And I believe that it should be a baseline basic human right, let alone the fact that it should be an American right.
The way that I see things as an American there's nothing written into the constitution that says what we can or what we cannot put into our bodies. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
To be able to decide what’s best for my own body or for anybody else to decide what’s best for their own body. And obviously, the medical applications for the cannabis plant alone are so numerous to even start trying to list them all right now, but it goes beyond that. For me, it’s not just about the medical stuff, it’s any kind of recreational capacity in a free society I don’t see any reason why this should be restricted. If we haven’t learned our lesson from the war on drugs by now or from even from the prohibition in the 1920s. I just don’t know what it’s gonna take for people to wake up and realize that nothing good ever comes out of criminalizing a plant.
Sonia Gomez: Agreed, wholeheartedly agree. I wish there was something I could argue with because I think it’d be making for a better–
David Pellicane: I think we’re probably on the same page.
Restricting THC Use
Sonia Gomez: We’re for sure on the same page. But one thing I will ask about because here in Colorado, I think a lot of people are surprised to hear that like, even though I was a part of legislation that would allow for medical use here for-profit medical model and a business thing and operated a dispensary. And so I think that a lot of people assume that just because I was a part of that movement and just because they owned a dispensary and manufacturing license and cultivation license that I would also be pro recreational use. And in fact, I wasn’t I thought it was too soon too much too soon, and that we didn’t keep up with accessibility.
The way we didn’t keep up with education and accessibility like the two things, they outgrew each other, the education didn’t grow as quickly as the accessibility did. I’m interested to hear your perspective. What, in your opinion, should they recreational– Should they allow for recreational access or adult use across the country now? Or do you think that the trajectory that we’re on now where, you know, one state at a time is offering some sort of reform? How would you see that political landscape?
David Pellicane: I don’t think we have a choice anymore. I think if the American government is truly concerned about the well being of the general public in this country, as I’m sure you’ve probably seen in the news over the past couple of months, people are dying, and even more, people are getting sick right now from using black market THC cartridges that they’re vaping. All of the headlines in the news have been saying at least initially, it was all attributed to vaping, electronic cigarettes, all of the information that seems to be coming out now, at least reliable information has pretty much narrowed it down to the fact that it is black market THC cartridges that are getting people sick.
Reliable information has pretty much narrowed it down to the fact that it is black market THC cartridges that are getting people sick. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
A kid just died a week and a half ago here in Tennessee. He was in his early 20’s a guitar player could have been me 20 years ago. And the truth of the matter is yes, there needs to be a certain level of public education where the public needs to understand what these products are, how they work, how they affect people. But at the end of the day, most people are familiar with what the plant is what it does and if we weren’t so far overdue, I’d say yeah, to have a period a transitional period of education would be great. But now it’s to the point like I said, where people are getting sick and developing, [inaudible] pneumonia and all different kinds of lung problems. And as far as we can tell, it’s not from the THC that’s hurting anybody. It’s while they don’t know exactly what it is, there’s a lot of speculation right now that it’s coming from the cuts that are being used to cut down to–
Sonia Gomez: Like vitamin E oil for instance–
David Pellicane: I would you say oil yeah. Things that are not meant to be absorbed into the lungs. But whatever it is the only way that there’s they’re going to be able to come up with real concrete evidence of what it is that’s causing this is to put everything out in the open right now, to accept that this is a real problem. It’s not going to prevent people from using these products. People are going to use THC, whether it’s legal or not.
Sonia Gomez: Just like they have been for decades.
David Pellicane: Exactly. And so I was gonna say, they have been for decades. So this isn’t some new thing, people getting sick as a new thing. And that’s probably because there is you know, there’s
Sonia Gomez: There are more chemical derivatives infused into it than ever before. And people are homemade manufacturing concentrates were in decades before even leading up in the last four years, there wasn’t nearly as much movement around constant, the concentrated movement, and the drill or like, you know, we’re really grassroots about it, until like four or five years ago when all of a sudden it was, you know, the dawn of the alien weed like [inaudible] like alien cannabis that has been genetically modified to soup up and stir up the absolute most THC and then they’re throwing it in these machines that are like extracting it with butane or CO2, some sort of gas and they’re either not pulling out all of the solution from it.
So it’s not a clean substance than you’re like smoking gas. And then you’re like, there’s all this crazy stuff that’s happening now with the infiltration of front Range science. And not to say that it’s bad because there’s a ton of benefit from science being involved with the industry as well, but certainly, for the black market and the bootleg market, which I love all my people who’ve been in that, you know, much love to you all but at the same time, like we have a bad rep right now.
David Pellicane: It’s a nightmare. Yeah and obviously when, when you’re working in an environment where there are no legal options available in states where like Tennessee where we don’t have even medical, it’s going to put people in a position to do things without any kind of oversight without any kind of regulation at all. When it comes down to just dealing with the pure flower the risks are less prevalent. But we’re to a point right now where people all over the country are watching shows on TV, where people are using 8,000 different kinds of cannabis derivatives in every form known to man. Whatever you want to say about it, the cat’s already out of the bag.
So people are aware that these products exist and people will be going to want to get their hands on them and if there isn’t some way to make sure that the best products are available to people all across the country, the cleanest the purest versions of whether it’s the distillates whether it’s edibles whatever it is, the only people at this point that stand to lose, or are the people who are using these products who are going to be using them one way or the other. So I mean, if there is any general outrage and concern over the fact that people are getting sick from these products, then the government needs to act quickly and figure out a way to get this under control before it becomes a public health crisis beyond what it already is right now.
Addressing Tobacco and Cannabis to Consumers
Sonia Gomez: So funny that like millions of people, tens of millions of people can die from smoking tobacco, but we have like, I don’t know, 100 deaths from or you not even that many there has not even been? No, there’s like, yeah, there’s like a couple of dozen folks who get sick from this. And they’re like, illegalized, they’re making vaping illegal now you’re doing all this stuff. And I’m just saying I use it. What happens if that’s alcohol? What happens if that’s tobacco? There’s somewhat of a conspiracy theorist in the sense that I’m like, why hasn’t there been any reform or further addressing of tobacco or alcohol.
David Pellicane: They are completely linked up together and that’s where I’ve kind of gone off the reservation for a lot of people in the electronic cigarette industry because all I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks, is trying to differentiate to my customers and the public that there is a difference between store-bought electronics cigarettes nicotine-based electronic cigarette products, and black-market illegal counterfeit THC cartridges. But the whole time that I’ve been trying to differentiate these two products and there is a big difference between them, I’ve been trying to be very careful not to inadvertently throw the cannabis industry under the bus on this one because it’s a fine line. It’s a fine line. And ultimately, the people who have an interest in this hysteria continuing the vaping hysteria, it’s going to serve the same forces at the end of the day.
Differentiate to my customers and to the public that there is a difference between store bought electronics cigarettes nicotine based electronic cigarette products, and black market illegal counterfeit THC cartridges. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
It’s a play right now by the big tobacco companies to retake control over the nicotine industry, whether that means that they’re the only people who are allowed to remain in the space for nicotine distribution devices, whether that means they’re able to continue with electronic cigarettes and eliminate all of the small business owners like me, or get back people back to smoking cigarettes again, one way or the other, it’s a win-win for the big tobacco companies. But what people don’t realize is also happening from all of this is, this is also an opportunity for the big corporations out there to retake control over the cannabis industry and be able to try to make the point and that to influence the public to think that they’re the only ones you can regulate the cannabis and cannabis industry, which would mean that either the big tobacco companies or the big pharmaceutical companies wanting to take control over the cannabis industry which would be a tragedy also.
Either way, at the end of the day, the people who stand to benefit from all the hysteria that’s been created in the news in the past couple of months, are ultimately going to be big gigantic corporations that have so much influence in politics right now, influence in the media, and the misinformation and lies that are coming out. As you said, there have been a handful of people who’ve died from these unregulated THC cartridges but there have been 480,000 people that died last year from smoking cigarettes were like we know that. So to make any kind of equivalency between the two things is not only irresponsible, it can potentially create a situation where more people are going to be getting sick and dying in a way that ultimately is only going to wind up benefiting these corporations at the end of the day.
Roadblocks Along with the CBD Industry
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally agree. I think that there’s I always say that there’s this really small window right now while we’re a self-governing industry, where we have a chance to set ourselves apart, and we have a chance to govern in a way that holds each other accountable for quality, efficacy, and that we’re delivering on the promises that we are making a lot of people because they’re having a challenge with stabilizing supply chain or whatever it is for themselves, they don’t know where their products are being sourced, or a lot of companies are just white labeling. You know, you have no idea of the journey of your brand. And it’s super, super important. You know, that you asked those burning quite like What are those?– What are the key questions that you should be asking to help you understand, like, what is the journey of the product that you’re putting in? Do you have batch-specific testing? Do you know what is being put in your bottle and will a client experience the same thing every time they take your product, even if it’s a different batch?
So being the self-governing industry making sure that the education and information are available to properly empower the clients that you’re serving, super important as you’re building and growing. One of the things that we talked about was the inevitable challenges and we always cover this segment like what are the crazy challenges that CBD is putting in front of us. What feels most natural to us as business owners to implement as a part of our CBD companies, whether you’re a store or an online brand, or you know, a distributor, there’s all different types of things that feel natural, but are preventing you from being able to grow in the CBD space. Specifically, what have been some of those roadblocks that you have hit David?
So being the self-governing industry, making sure that the education and information are available to properly empower the clients that you're serving, super important as you're building and growing. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
David Pellicane: Well, the biggest one, you know, has probably been credit card processing right off the bat. You know, after the 2018 Farm Bill went through last December. I thought okay, this is going to take CBD out of the shadows. I know that there’s been some progress on the safe Banking Act and everything. But even still, the initial credit card processor that we were working with when we first opened up, pulled the plug on us, within a month of being open. We had a second credit card processor that was doing a CBD pilot program, they wound up pulling the prologue after about two months. And then just recently, we went on to our third credit card processor.
They’re making things pretty difficult right now withholding funds and doing a bunch of things that are, frankly just crazy. And I’m not even sure how it’s being done legally. But you know, the whole point of this is to be able to legitimize the industry not only benefits people who In the industry, it’s not just the business people, but it gives the consumers a little bit more confidence and who they’re doing business with. And the more legitimate a business becomes, the more incentive there is to make sure the products that are going out of their front door or being shipped out of their warehouse for online sales, or whatever it is, the incentive gets greater and greater to maintain your reputation and maintain your brand and that incentivizes businesses to look more closely at the CEO weighs on all the products, making sure that you know everything is being tested that quality control levels are high because it’s the same as the electronic cigarette industry in the sense that, when you have a brand and you have a business where people are coming in your front door, you have to maintain a certain level of professionalism and quality.
So that A- people feel confident to return and continue buying products for you. But B- even more importantly make sure you’re not putting anything out your door that could ever risk getting somebody sick. So, you know, the same thing applies to the CBD, the hemp or the cannabis industry, the more and these are all relatively speaking new industries. So there are going to be obstacles but at the end of the day, the consumer wants to know wherever they’re getting these products from are not only getting products that are going to be reliably safe to use, but they want to know that it’s coming from other people who share a like-minded vision of what the industry is supposed to stand for and represent. And that’s where you know, we could be facing huge problems with the idea that to buy any of these products, they’re going to be coming from a pharmaceutical company or tobacco company. The reason why a lot of people use these products in the first place is to get away from those industries because they don’t want to support big tobacco companies and they don’t want to support some big pharmaceutical industries. So it’s important to make sure that whatever common-sense regulation is implemented, and I do believe in common sense regulation, it’s done in a way that still make sure that to be able to have a space in the industry is attainable by working-class Americans and not taken over by conglomerates that will make it virtually impossible for regular people to be a part of what can potentially be, one of the breakthrough industries of the next hopefully millennia you know, it’s the potential is there, it’s just a matter of who are going to be the people who have a seat at the table when it comes to who gets to operate in the space, you know.
But at the end of the day, most people are familiar with what the plant is, what it does and if we weren't so far overdue, I'd say, to have a period a transitional period of education would be great. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: How are you selecting products that are going into your store right now?
David Pellicane: Well, one of the few ways I mean we carry dozens of different products from a lot of them are established companies that we’ve done our due diligence and our research into making sure that all of their products are being made the right way we demand COAs ways on every product that we carry in the store. On a more local level, we try to deal with a lot of local Tennessee based businesses and for a lot of them, this is their first year growing hemp, and it’s really exciting because, for a lot of these people, they’ve been farmers for years that have been struggling to find a crop that potentially can, to be profitable for them. But to make sure that we’re maintaining a certain level of responsibility for the industry, and ultimately for the consumers, we demand the same testing done on all of their products as well.
If you want to be in the space if you want to be able to operate, there are certain things that we require you to do, which test your products, make sure that they are clean and that they don’t contain any kinds of chemicals in them that you know, have no place being in the plants. And when they do the testing on these products, they test for everything, and they should because, you know ultimately at the end of the day these are products that people are consuming, ingesting and putting into their body in one way or another and it’s our responsibility as an industry to make sure that whatever’s going out to be consumed is of the highest quality products available.
Test your products, make sure that they are clean and that they don't contain any kinds of chemicals in them that you know have no place being in the plants. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Here’s here’s an interesting question for you and I’m excited to hear your perspective here. There are hundreds of new products, I mean dozens of new products coming into the marketplace every single day It feels like– I think square told me that they were onboarding 450 to about 470 new brands every single week for their beta program, which at this point is no longer a beta program. They’re onboarding people to process CBD for, but I’m interested to hear your perspective from– I’m sure that being a physical store, you’re constantly getting applications or submissions for people to carry their products in your store, what is your opinion is a gap that needs to be filled in the industry as far as product or delivery systems go?
David Pellicane: That’s a good question. Um Say that one more time what products–
Sonia Gomez: Like where’s the hole? Where’s there a gap a lot of brands like I get probably a dozen new products a week. A dozen different companies sending me their stuff they want me to promote them all of this stuff and a lot of them are great, but a lot of them are looky-loo products in the sense that they’re like a topical, a tincture, a gummy. And although that’s fine and everybody has their unique differentiator there are very few times where I see something that nobody else has. That I think is really super cool. Case in point an example of that would be like a fitness product or an essential oil blends that also has CBD in it, you know things of that nature What in your opinion?– First of all what’s selling the best in your store now and so much that you feel like you, you would like to see fail?
David Pellicane: Well, then I’ll answer both of those the products that do not exist yet where there is a little hole in the market and I think all that’s the million-dollar question right now we’re all trying to figure out what that thing is. But yeah, probably the things that are the best selling products right now in the store are still basic CBD tinctures. They’re being reliable for reliable sales for a lot of people who are gonna, start using a certain brand and come in repeatedly just to continue buying usually the same thing. And, you know, as far as I’m concerned if something is working for somebody–
Sonia Gomez: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Best Selling Products
David Pellicane: Exactly if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But yeah, I mean there have been a bunch of neat little products that have been coming out and like you said a lot of you know, we get dozens of samples sent to us every week. A lot of it is just variations on the exam, the same thing, the gummies, the tinctures, the flower, the topicals but every once in a while you get something that comes in, that’s a little different, whether it’s funny or you know, just recently been brought in some mints. So there’s new stuff coming out all the time. But yeah, most people stick with the main three things, the topicals, the tinctures and to a certain extent the flowers I guess yeah.
Sonia Gomez: Love it and what’s the best seller in your store right now you would say is still the tinctures?
David Pellicane: Tinctures are probably still the best sellers. Yeah. We have certain people who prefer the capsules who aren’t always crazy about the taste of the CBD. And you know with all of the candies and edibles that are available, some people like to eat it but yeah, the tinctures at the end of the day are probably our biggest seller but that’s changing a little bit for us because I don’t know how it is everywhere else in the country but right now in Nashville specifically and Middle Tennessee, it seems like they’re selling CBD everywhere. Like literally everywhere. You know, liquor stores to carrying CBD the grocery stores are carrying CBD, Dillards which is like a big department store like Macy’s is carrying CBD. The gas stations are carrying CBD there’s a furniture store two blocks away from me that selling CBD wellness places.
Sonia Gomez: Meeting couch have–
David Pellicane: Yeah, you want to get comfortable on your couch, try– you know, I don’t know it’s kind of crazy. But overall, the fact that people are getting educated on what these products are and the fact that they are still ultimately derived from the same plant whether you want to call the cannabis plant or a hemp plant. The big thing for me that that’s been positive is public perception is evolving and changing from a business perspective. The fact that tons of businesses are selling these products that don’t necessarily know all that much about them is kind of a mixed bag, I guess because, on the one hand, it’s nice that they’re accessible to so many different people in so many different places. But at the end of the day, it makes a big difference to go into a place that specializes in these products who can tell you the difference between full-spectrum CBD and isolettes whereas a lot of these other places that sell I don’t know, they’re just there in little displays.
There are a big chain grocery stores called Kroger and there’s, there’s a display here where they sell all these products, but there’s nobody who can answer questions about them, I get a little concerned when people are buying them without really having a chance to talk to somebody to understand what they are, how they work, and you know the best ways to use them, but–
I get a little concerned when people are buying them without really having a chance to talk to somebody to understand what they are, how they work, and the best ways to use them. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: I’ll never forget the first time I ever heard the term full spectrum isolette. I laughed so hard, I could hardly contain myself and it was just full spectrum I slid I’m like that is like in the title is full. That’s like the glory definition of an oxy. Like, this is any indication of the high school dropouts that are affecting running this show over here right now just because they can pull together some money or trust to [inaudible] like that shit is just–
US VS. China Consumers
David Pellicane: There’s a lot of bullshit, like that going on. All of these things are a little bit of a double-edged sword. You wanna make sure that the entry point into the industry is attainable enough for regular people. But you need to have basic, common-sense regulation in place to make sure that the industry doesn’t shoot itself in the foot at the end of the day, by just allowing anybody to operate in the space without any experience, and without the kind of conditions for production that are necessary to make sure that these products are being made the right way. And at the same time by leaving things completely wide open you run the risk of having products start infiltrating the market that isn’t even created in the United States and China. Just to give you an example, seize the opportunity in this business right now. Yeah, and everything.
Sonia Gomez: See the opportunity and everything.
David Pellicane: They do, but they do not hold themselves to the same quality standards that I think most American consumers would like to I think the products that they’re going to be ingesting are going to be on that level. And, it’s unfortunate.
Sonia Gomez: Most consumers in the United States are purchasing a minimum of three to five products that are made in China or overseas. Every single day. We have, I think, in a lot of cases, we have like an elitist mentality around like, Ooh, it’s American. But when it comes down to it, I think we’re more budget-conscious than we are anything and China makes it cheaper, you know, and that’s the fact like–
David Pellicane: But with something like CBD, they make it cheaper by cutting corners on trauma.
Trusting the Source of Information
Sonia Gomez: Oh, yeah, I agree. 100%. But that’s where the education comes in right? It’s like, yeah, how do you create a standard of education and awareness that helps the consumer make an educated or empowered decision about where they’re sourcing from, and here in the United States, although we have a more of an elitist approach to standard, only because it’s mature, we’re mature market here 18 millions of pounds of cannabis was cultivated in 2017 only two of which 2 million pounds stuck in California, the rest of it spread across the country. So we know what, you know, [inaudible] we know what the Callee kind is, we know what you know, Kaleo like, we know what all of these different things are. And we expect hemp to be of a similar standard when in fact, as a self-governing industry, we’re acting as if every man for themselves and instead of really creating a standard of operation that empowers us as an industry, before big business comes in here.
I mean, what do we think the FDA is gonna change anything? Fuck those guys there. I’m sorry guys. Don’t shoot a laser into my living room right now, but I’m just going to say FU now because you are– The FDA, the FTC is 80% funded by the very businesses that we’re all, revolting against big pharma is 80% of the revenue that is governing our Department of Agriculture. And like that’s the regulatory services that we have to be up against right now what we can say what we can do, what we can deliver is governed by people that are funded by the various organizations that we are fighting against to have a different standard of health care, and they will end up you know, because their wallets are deeper, and they’re, their lawyers are meaner, and they can afford to just push everybody in the direction that they want them to go. In the meantime, we have, for me, this is a freedom movement, and we do have the right to choose how we want to manage the symptoms that are associated with any of the life-altering diagnoses, that cannabis or hemp has been attributed to helping. And if we don’t set the standard I asked you who’s going to like, for me? Well, that’s a lot of why I focused on education because, in my opinion, as humble as that may be, it’s in my opinion, being a patient, somebody whose life has suffered somebody whose life has been altered by the over-prescription of medications and following doctor’s orders, which are not always awesome. You know, and follow doctor’s orders have really put me in a position where I was in danger.
And not that I want to negate the medical system, because, without modern-day medicine, my dad wouldn’t be here. He’s a liver transplant survivor. He’s a kidney transplant survivor. He’s back and had his, I mean, he’s the bionic man. He’s got more new organs internally. He’s about he’s my age. Yeah, internally. He’s 35 years old began Oh, like, he’s an iron horse. My stepmother is thriving with stage two, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And I mean, through holistic medicine, she’s been able to thrive not survive, but she’s truly thriving. So I really believe in modern-day medicine and I also believe there’s a significant imbalance in the education and the pursuit of truth.
We as consumers have to require of our companies and organizations that we have access to the truth and that there is more of a qualifying system in place that protects us. You know, a lot of the information that’s available on the internet, for instance, now is governed by and created by brands who want you to buy their stuff. You know, to the United States it doesn’t matter. It’s biased information. So you have to find the voice that you can trust and the source of information that you know is not paid. Which by the way, we’re not paid. Not to be a shameless plug or whatever, but we’re not paid. We’ve just been in this long enough to know. And we’ve dug the holes, planted the seeds and grown the plant, extracted the oil and thrown it into bottles on behalf of these people. We’re not doing that anymore. But we’ve done the whole process like we understand what it takes. And it’s not as easy as it looks, it’s not as easy as it sounds. But it is, on the other hand, providing an incredible opportunity to these legacy farms to be reborn and reignited and allowing the next generation to live that American dream that the entire world is flocking here for right now.
David Pellicane: Yeah, and I mean, that’s ultimately the whole conundrum of the situation is you want to be able to trust the regulatory agencies. But, and I agree with you 100% on everything you said, I am not anti-science or anti-medicine. But we’ve gotten to a point in this country where the lines have been so blurred between businesses, especially the big businesses who, as you said, have the deep pockets, can afford to spend countless amounts of money on lobbying. And we’re at a sad point right now where people don’t know who they can trust. And just through my experiences in the electronic cigarette industry, I’ve seen that the FDA definitely has people pulling the strings behind how they are writing policy and it’s always an issue of who has the deepest pockets. And it does sadly, always fall to these gigantic pharmaceutical companies and in the electronic cigarette industry, the tobacco companies. But even when you find out that the guys who were Scott Gottlieb, who was director of the FDA for a while had an interest in the electronic cigarette industry, you start to realize, Hey, wait for a second, these agencies, you know, really need to be separated from big business interests, and need to start working on behalf of the public interest and the public health. You know, because just to illustrate a little story, how this gets so crazy is, with all of the whole vaping hysteria that’s been going on Tennessee The Department of Health which should be an agency that people in the state should be able to look at and trust what they’re saying is reliable information for the benefit of the public.
They were intentionally blurring the lines between the differences between electronic cigarettes and THC cartridges, black market THC cartridges and that’s a tragedy for the country when people don’t know where they can be getting reliable sources of information from because the education is everything. You know, it is the responsibility of the American consumer to do their research, their independent research on any product that they may potentially be interested in purchasing, buying, ingesting. But where are these people supposed to get to information from gets difficult to know, because I can’t point to one source right now and say okay, you can 100% trust there are groups out there, the hemp industry association and different pro-cannabis industry associations, but at the end of the day, that there has to be some kind of reason reliable information source for the American consumer to be able to get their information from that they could feel 100% confident using that information to make form decisions from.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, and even companies like yours that you can rely on to refer out to, like, that’s a lot of what they people are looking for is just like helping hand to get pointed in the right direction, whether they’re picking a product or looking for info, it’s people are just looking for a helping hand and like a community to connect with that doesn’t make them feel like a leper, because they’re trying something other than what the generation before or what their friends are doing, or whatever, you know, or friends or judgy.
David Pellicane: It’s true and people should be discerning. But, yeah, right now, this is the big question, and I’m not sure exactly what the answer is right now.
Sonia Gomez: And nobody knows what the answer is. It’s just a fun topic of discussion because nobody knows that there’s no fucking answer. Otherwise, we would be following rules right now. But for us, like that’s why we focus on education because we wanted to become that hub and we created something called the Leaf Academy, which is an education platform that people can connect and collaborate with like-minded folks ask their questions in a comfortable space.
We’ve created certification programs so that people with physical retail stores as they’re integrating products, can have their staff take the CBD Ambassador’s Program and understand the key pieces of science and the key pieces of history. And the delivery systems and dosing that you should help folks select if they’re coming to you with specific, you know, ailments. We’ve also created, you know, the National Health Coach certification program, where we’re certifying people to be able to do consultations, and review medical history and, you know, make your selection based on the results that you’re looking for. And now you have a liaison that can help support you finding and adding or eliminating products as you’re transitioning into holistic care. So we’ve partnered with doctors, we’ve partnered with DOs, legal teams, all different types of folks to speak to how to navigate your way through whether you’re a consumer or a business owner, a budding entrepreneur, how do you navigate your way through all of this stuff, and then we provide tools and resources, inside of those things. So that’s been a lot of our focus and what we continue through. Yeah, we continue to improve that every day.
And I think it’s necessary for retail I love that the retail industry is being reborn right now with CBD, you’re seeing them pop up all over the place. And that you’re getting that like engagement, on one with people like that’s something that was missing with the revolution around online shopping. And something cool too, you know, resurrect and create, like that client connection with the stores. So I’m super excited to see that whole piece happen.
In our podcast, we do a segment called the words of wisdom and I’d love to hear from you just a quick and dirty pieces of advice, maybe two or three pieces of advice that you could offer our budding entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out this industry, whether they need to increase distribution, like, I have an idea. Can you give some words of wisdom to existing brands who want to get their products placed into a retail store? What’s the best way to approach you to catch your attention and be considered to get picked up?
Words of Wisdom
David Pellicane: Um, well, I think the main thing we look for and I’m sure other businesses take a different approach to it, but it’s important to us to know that the ethos of the company that we will potentially consider bringing into our store kind of aligns with our outlook and values on the industry as a whole. Anybody who’s just me– this is America, everybody has the right to make a living and get into any business that they want to. But this is a special industry, it means something and it needs to stand for something that goes beyond just profit margins.
This is a special industry, it means something and it really needs to stand for something that goes beyond just profit margins. - David Pellicane Click To Tweet
And for us, it’s really important that the businesses that we’re working with and the brands that we’re carrying in our store recognize that this is a unique time for not only this industry but for this country to start evolving into a new way of doing things to start approaching lifestyle and wellness in a way that I don’t know that this country’s had the chance to explore before. And for us to just bring in a brand that was created by people whose only incentive is profit probably will not wind up on our show. We want companies who want to make the world a better place. As silly that might sound.
Sonia Gomez: Gorgeous. Put some cheese on that right there. That was perfectly said I emphasize this so much with the brands that I work with. And I do work with quite a few brands who are trying to navigate their way through this as a consultant. And I always tell them that, you have to have a mission and a movement that’s connected to the product. People buy people not products. And so that’s a key differentiator. Were you done with your words of wisdom?
David Pellicane: Yeah, that was pretty much I was gonna say all ended on one thing though. Right now this country is so divided politically, probably more divided than we’ve ever been since potentially the Civil War. Cannabis is a magical plant and it can bring people from both sides of the political spectrum together in a way that very few things can’t and be able to see people who are coming into the store who are politically very far to the right we’ve got guys coming in growing hemp who are full-on Tennessee Cowboys, cowboy hats and boots and belt buckles and we’ve got guys coming in growing hemp who are tie-dye wearing dreadlocks, hippies. And I can’t think of one single other thing that can bring people together from such far cultural and political backgrounds. And if we continue to develop this industry in the right way, it really can heal the divides that exist in this country right now. Not even just for people who are using it, just to get a little stoned once in a while, but the medical aspects of it and beyond even that the cultural divides that can be torn down from this plant from this, hopefully, this industry if it’s maintained the right way. I give me a little hope for the future that things can get better.
Sonia Gomez: I couldn’t agree with you more. I call cannabis the great equalizer. And it is just such a great way to level the playing field and although you’ll see people and be like, no pro-abortion or opposing abortion or let’s get rid of Planned Parenthood or health care for everyone, no health care for anyone, just like things that seem super important that nobody can find common ground with. But when it comes to cannabis, they’re like cannabis. Yeah, yeah, we probably want some more of that. However, that’s happening over there we’ll take our piece of the $22 billion pie, no problem.
So I think it’s an equalizer and we’re seeing for whatever their reasons whatever their motivations are, we’re seeing more people adopt and jump on board. So I’m excited to see at the evolving landscape as we continue to integrate Cannabis and its derivatives, hemp and its derivatives into our communities and make sure that you guys are out there playing it safe my words of wisdom for the day will piggyback directly on what you are saying.
I couldn’t agree more in the sense that there has to be a key differentiator what we call a unique selling proposition when you are selling or sending samples into a store you are in a sea of many and how do you stand out as the go-to brand when there are so many other businesses who are fighting for the same shelf space. The one thing that I say all the time is that your community and your consciousness connected to your product and your brand is going to be a really easy way to differentiate yourself if you are bringing yourself into a store saying Hey, guess what I have 30,000 followers who are all in alignment and looking for this brand and look and are excited about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and we’d love to be able to announce our partnership and that people can pick up your products or our product at your store that creates a win-win situation for both the store owner and the brand. You’re showing that you have a following, you’re showing that you have a community who is actively searching and in alignment with the things that are most important with you. Again, this is not about the formula that you can put into a bottle and slap a label on. This is about the mission and the movement to help people gain access to natural alternatives that can transform the way that they feel and function daily and whichever niche you select, that has to be the mission and you have to create a movement through building a community around that cause.
The second piece of information that I’ll share with you is your message to mark the market match. How you communicate the moral code that you create as a company and indoctrinate a community of people to capture, connect and ultimately convert them into sales is so important. Understanding who your customer is that you’re creating products will allow you to effortlessly create that message to market match. And then finally, is the technology. How do you bring together the digital assets that you need to help both the store and your brand increase revenue over time through your partnership is going to help you stand apart every single time? If you’re just looking for that one-off sale to get picked up as a wholesale account. That’s not going to be very, very exciting long term. How are the customers even going to understand why they should pick you over somebody else? But if you are bringing more asset to the company that you want to do business within the partnership, and you lead with the value, just because of the feeling that they have the trust and rapport that you’ve built with the business owner, or brick and mortar company, they’re going to go to Select your topical, before anyone else is because they feel connected to your cause. And you always have to be thinking about what problem can I solve for somebody else, so that they want to solve your problem too. Everyone’s looking– everyone’s fighting for the same shelf space right now and you have to be able to communicate your commitment to excellence. Create a message that creates a movement and get people enrolled in the mission that you have for change through your brand.
Understanding who your customer is that you're creating products for will allow you to effortlessly create that message to market match. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Your brand will just be a by-product of all of that incredible life-changing work that you will do and if you don’t know how to do those things, feel free to reach out this is exactly what I do is create the message to market matches and create a passion behind the purpose and, and cultivate a profitable business from those places. Gone are the days where you can just push products, you have to be a people that people want to do business with. So those are my words of wisdom, and preach and are we ever going to get to see you put that Gibson to work back there, you’re going to make–
David Pellicane: Maybe next. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today. It’s been great. Keep up all the work that you’re doing. We’re gonna have to talk, you know, outside this podcast and I’m looking forward to hearing a little bit more about what you do and you know, the information, education stuff that you’re you’re working on really, really sounds like really good positive stuff.
Where to Find Them
Sonia Gomez: Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. Where can people find you if they want to know where to get to?
David Pellicane: Uh, well, our retail store, if anybody’s in Nashville, is on 5916 Charlotte pike. But for everybody else, you can check us out on www.nashvillehemp.com. We have a site under construction right now. So we’re hoping by in the next two weeks, our new site will be up that’ll have more information and some products and kind of a little bit of the overall vibe of what we’re trying to do out here.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, sounds good. All of the social media handles and websites will be put right here in the blog, as well as the show notes and highlights from today’s shows. If you are a budding entrepreneur or somebody who’s already in the business and you need some support breaking through those glasses, ceilings are just finding your way in this inevitably challenging but quite amazing, quite incredible industry. Check us out at theemeraldcircle.com for any of the resources, relationships, tools, tips and tricks that you need to succeed in the green rush. If you are an incredible person looking for some products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for check us out at medicalsecrets.com. I’m your host, Sonia Gomez, and this is The Hemp Revolution. We’ll see you at our next show, guys. Thanks so much, David.
David Pellicane: Thank you. You have a good one! We’ll talk soon.
Sonia Gomez: Thanks for listening to this episode, we took notes on this episode for you along with all the links and resources mentioned in the episode. Get them free on the show notes page here at www.medicalsecrets.com.
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