THE HIGHWAY PODCAST PRESENTS: CANDID CONVERSATIONS EP.2

Heat & Herb X The Highway Weed Podcast Candid Conversations, Candid Conversation, Candid Conversation Podcast, Weed Podcast

Welcome to the first installment of Candid Conversations About Cannabis, where I (David Burgomaster) follow up for a deeper dive with guests from The Highway Podcast

For our second installment I spoke with Dylan King of Pistol & Paris. You can find the full episode he was featured on here (which also features Jbuds), as well as a written recap of that episode here. 

 

David Burgomaster for Heat + Herb = H+H

Dylan King =DK

If you haven’t seen Episode Three of The Highway Podcast, click here!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Introductions
  • Story Behind the Name
  • How Dylan Got into the Industry 
  • Employing Women
  • The Helicopter Connection
  • Helicopter Rescues
  • Jars or Mylar 
  • How Packaging Affects Perception
  • Selecting Cultivators 
  • Grower Transparency/Using Multiple Growers
  • The Importance of Unique Genetics 
  • Assessing Cannabis Quality 
  • The Design & Build of their Agassiz Facility 
  • Plans for the Facility 
  • Greatest Benefit to Owning a Facility 
  • Staffing the New Facility 
  • New Cultivars in the Pipeline
  • Pheno Hunter/Master Grower 
  • Cannabis Genetics/Breeding Program 
  • Competitors/Contemporaries 
  • Mentors or Those Who Inspire in the Cannabis Space 
  • Who Else is Most Responsible for Pistol & Paris’ Success? 
  • How They Are Expanding the Brand
  • Lobbying & Legal Impediments
  • Launching Products in New Categories
  • Thank Yous and Goodbyes
  • Social Corner 

CANDID CONVERSATIONS #2 - PISTOL & PARIS

Story Behind the Name 

 

H+H:

Alright, so let’s get into some questions. What’s the history behind the brand name?

 

DK:

So back in 2017, my wife Brittany and I were on a walk one day, and we were trying to name-play with catchy names to do an online weed dispensary, pre legalization. So we were just kind of name-playing off of “Pistol” and then trying to find a catchy name that kind of went well with “Pistol” and we came up with “Paris”.

 

H+H:

Okay. So it was an alliteration type of thing where it just sounds good, more than anything.

 

DK:

We were just trying to come up with something catchy, instead of the “obvious” like King Cannabis or Cannabis Kings. Something totally unique and different from what the typical cannabis brands’ names were pre legalization. “Pistol & Paris” stuck right away. We knew that we had something that we both really liked, and we thought it would be a catchy name that everybody else would like as well.

 

H+H:

I agree it’s pretty memorable, and one that customers tend to recall at the retail level from my experience. 

 

How Dylan Got Into the Industry 

H+H:

So, how did you first get involved in the industry, and what was your first experience with cannabis? 

 

DK:

I grew up on a little hippie Island, called Quadra Island. My parents were hippies, and they were growing cannabis at a young age, so I was always around it. As a young teenager, my friends and I were planting outdoor crops and that sort of stuff. So that was my first experience, I was probably 13 or 14 growing like 100 plants out in a field close by my house. And then after that, I didn’t really get into it until I was in my early 20s. Set up a small little grow-op with 10 plants in the attic of one of my houses I lived in at the time just kind of playing around, not really knowing what I was doing. Then at 25 or 26 I got a lot heavier involved with the cannabis space.

 

Employing Women 

 

H+H:

The legal cannabis space can be seen as a bit of a “boys club”. As a brand are you doing anything to be more inclusive and provide employment opportunities for women? 

 

DK:

To be honest with you, we have more female employees working with us than men. We’re a pretty tight knit team but out of the six or seven of us, it’s mainly just two men – myself and my brother in law Lance, but then I’ve got my wife that’s very involved, and the rest of the team including admin and social media positions all staffed by women. I’m all about supporting women. I like hearing diverse perspectives that are different from my own. We don’t discriminate in any way in that regard. 

 

H+H:

Nice. Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s important to hear from diverse perspectives because they can illuminate things or issues you may have overlooked or not considered. As a white

 

male myself, I tend to seek out opinions from my female friends and coworkers, as well as members of other cultures for that very reason.  

 

DK:

I bounce a lot of stuff off my wife all the time for her opinion. I really take her opinion and other women’s opinions seriously whenever building things with my company. I pay close attention to that, because it’s really important in building Pistol & Paris as a brand that appeals to men and women.

 

The Helicopter Connection 

H+H:

On the subject of branding, a major element of your brand is the helicopter. So tell us about that a little bit. What were the circumstances that led to you owning a helicopter?

 

DK:

I’ve always wanted to fly helicopters, dating back to my younger years working as a dock boy at resorts on Quadra Island. I dealt with a lot of float planes coming and going with passengers, and the thought of flying really excited me. It seemed like an exciting lifestyle that these pilots would live and get to see, so I always wanted to fly fixed wing or helicopter.

 

H+H:

What finally pushed you to get it? 

 

DK:

Making the time, which I had a little bit more of in 2018 – which my wife laughs about, because I have no time as it is. I just came home one day and made the decision to do it. I hadn’t told Brittany ahead of time, but she was supportive when I shared my plans. I basically put aside the time from six in the morning till noon every day to get some hours flying in, and then also for studying bookwork and classwork. So, by the end of 2018, I graduated and was a commercial pilot. 

 

H+H:

And then you ended up purchasing one? 

 

DK:

Yeah, I ended up purchasing one right after. 

 

Helicopter Rescues 

H+H:

Very cool, and I think I remember seeing something in the news about you being involved in some rescue operations with your own helicopter as well. Could you tell us about that? 

 

DK:

Yeah, so when the floods happened, I believe it was in November, I started getting phone calls from people that had family members stuck in Hope, or neighbors, or a friend that’s a single mom and their child’s stuck with them, and so on. And they were asking me if I was available to bring them back to safety, basically, and how much it would cost. I told them what I would charge to cover expenses, and it was a really good deal in comparison to what other helicopter companies were charging. But after flying out there, and hearing some of the stories of what they went through being stranded for two or three days, I ended up not charging anyone. 

 

H+H:

Oh wow, that’s very generous of you 

 

DK:

It felt like the right thing to do.

 

H+H:

How long did that last for? 

 

DK:

I did it for two days. I would fly them back to my house – I have acreage there where I leave my helicopter. We’d land and their family would be waiting for them to pick them up. And you know, it was just crazy. It was a really cool experience being able to give back like that. I was glad to do it, and grateful to be in the position to do so. 

 

H+H:

It really is commendable.

 

Jars or Mylar? 

H+H:

So, let’s switch gears a bit – during your Highway podcast interview you stated your preference for using glass jars. For the Pink Panties, however, you used pink mylar bags. So, how do you choose which strains you’re putting into the glass jars and which ones in bags?

 

DK:

 

Yeah, that’s a great question. Somebody else asked me this question the other day. They caught that too. So, when we did that interview, I was really, really pro glass. And I think I even said, you won’t see Pistol & Paris in a mylar bag for a 3.5g SKU. But with price compression, the way that it’s been going down and down and down and especially in other markets like Ontario – I don’t even have a glass jar in Ontario, I’ve had to get rid of the glass jar, and come out with a 3.5 gram mylar bag instead. Just because, for me to have it in there, it was just too expensive. My MSRP price was just too high. And because I wasn’t selling through as fast, they didn’t want to give me any more replenishment orders.

 

H+H:

And to be fair, that interview was filmed before the Pink Panties was released

 

DK:

Right. I came out with Pink Panties in a mylar bag because with what it cost me for it, there wasn’t enough room for me to put it in a glass jar. So, I ended up putting it in a mylar bag. That being said, I still have a lot of products coming out in the glass jar. But it just depends on what my net is in the markets that I am in. At the end of the day, I said I wasn’t gonna go with bags, but because of price compression I’m forced to with some strains that I have.

 

H+H:

That makes sense. There’s also the shipping cost to think of, which becomes

an even bigger concern now with direct delivery and/or shipping into other provinces. 

 

DK:

Exactly. Here’s an example – for me to ship a case to Manitoba. It basically cost me about 40 bucks to ship a case of glass jars there. Let’s think about that, there’s only 42 grams in a whole case, and when you do the math I’m basically losing $1 per gram just on shipping.

 

H+H

That really eats into already slim margins 

 

DK:

It does, and I really want to be a brand that’s known right across Canada, and I don’t want to exclude Manitoba from getting Pistol & Paris product. But at the end of the day, when my profits are lost to shipping, it doesn’t make sense, as you’re trying to grow this business, to ship it in heavy glass containers. I think we shot that video four or five months ago, and that’s how much things have changed. Just in the last four or five months. With price compression, direct delivery, like you said, for me to ship a case to a retail store, even locally it’s gonna be a lot more expensive than it is in mylar, right? 

 

H+H:

Definitely, I used to run a shipping and receiving department for 10 years so I can relate to those concerns. 

 

How Packaging Affects Perception

H+H:

Okay, so accepting all the cost saving benefits and putting them aside – how important do you think the glass jar is to consumer perception, and its association with being a premium brand? I’ll give you an example of two brands that just came to market over the past year that are your competitors in the premium price tier – Ghost Drops and Cookies. Ghost Drops launched with glass jars, whereas Cookies went with the mylar bags. Cookies, even though they use bags, are charging more than anyone else on the market regardless of packaging. So does it really matter? 

 

DK:

Yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with the brand, and how important they think it is, to the customer or to the person that’s doing the ordering at the retail level. I was in Ontario recently and I was going around to these retail shops, and they were telling me, ‘we love your product, we love the Orange Tingz, but you coming out with a glass jar, it just makes our price point too expensive’. And I’d say ‘well, Pistol & Paris, we’re a high end brand, we’re premium quality, we’re not a “value brand”‘ and for me mylar always seemed like packaging for a “value sku”. 

 

H+H:

Was that a pretty unanimous sentiment from retailers in Ontario? 

 

DK:

No, it varies a lot. You’d hear that with some, and then the next store manager wouldn’t agree. They’d say their customers don’t care whatsoever if it’s in glass or mylar, then the next one would say the opposite where they really think I need to stay in glass to be that high end brand. So, I’ve been going back and forth for four or five months on this question and I asked a lot of retailers, guys like you – I’m curious your opinion on it. But at the end of the day for me – like you said Cookies are in mylar, Organnicraft they’re in mylar and I don’t think it’s going to really hurt Pistol & Paris. I don’t think it’s going to affect our reputation, image, or what people think of the brand by coming out in more mylar bags. I think with price compression we’re almost forced to. 

 

H+H:

I agree. To be honest, initially, I used to think the premium, quad level stuff should always come in glass. But the more I’ve worked in the industry, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is actually better for our profit margins and savings for customers as well as the sustainability of the industry to use mylar in most cases. I live in Summerland now and recycling wise, I have to take all glass items to the depot myself, so it’s an extra step for me and that’s a little thing but when you’re considering these things, the differences between premium brands, small things matter. 

 

DK:

That’s actually funny 

 

H+H:

So that leads right into my next question. Have you considered selling a premium quality Pistol & Paris branded storage jar? One you could then sell on your website or use as part of contests or giveaways?

 

DK:

No, I haven’t, but that’s a great idea

 

H+H:

I work in marketing (laughing) 

 

DK:

After I get off this call I’m actually going to put some time into that and get one up on the website, because I do sell a lot of Pistol & Paris branded accessories, and I think adding one’s a great idea. 

 

Selecting Cultivators 

H+H:

Keeping with public perception – the integrity of your brand is extremely important. What kind of criteria did/do you use when selecting cultivators? We heard the story with Jbuds on the podcast – is that the norm or do you have some sort of vetting process? 

 

DK:

Yeah, there definitely is yeah. 

 

H+H:

As your reputation has grown I’d assume you’d also have people reaching out to you as well. 

 

DK:

Honest to God, I get probably four to five emails or calls per week from micros or LPs interested in moving their gear through Pistol & Paris. Out of all of these guys I talked to, I mean, there’s so many of them, which is kind of a bad sign in a sense, because there’s just so many desperate people right now that are trying to move their product – and just the prices being quoted, and the sheer amount of flower, it’s crazy. When somebody reaches out to me, it’s not for 20 kg, it’s usually for 160 kgs of three different batches or 250 kgs of six batches. They’re kind of desperate if they’re reaching out under those circumstances, hoping that I can help them move some of their flower. 

 

H+H:

So when choosing to work with someone, what is most important to you? Is weed quality the top priority? 

 

DK:

For me it goes beyond even the weed. The relationship comes first. It has to be the right fit. I have a preference for, and have really tried to stick with growers with legacy experience. 

 

H+H:

Was Jbuds a bit of an outlier for you? 

 

DK:

Experience wise yes, people wise no. I have to really feel good about whoever it is that I’m going to be working with, because it really is a two way street. I’m not just there to buy their weed, there’s a give and take, especially in the cannabis industry today – we all have to be helping each other out. 

 

H+H:

Why do you gravitate towards Legacy growers or what is it you prefer about working with them?

 

DK:

I prefer working with Legacy growers because I like shaking a person’s hand looking them in the eyes and knowing that we’re here to support each other. Knowing they have a passion for the plant.

 

H+H:

I can see where you’re coming from on that. Alright, staying on the subject of selecting cultivators – I’ve previously discussed in other interviews that even when giving different growers cuts or clones from the same source, you will never have an identical end crop. All the little choices made by those cultivators affect the end result. All can be good or even amazing, but they won’t be identical. 

 

DK:

Yeah, they’re always different

 

H+H:

For instance one cultivator of Orange Tingz may use living soil while another uses coco coir in grodan blocks. They may use different lights. Different nutrients. These choices matter, and we’re not necessarily seeing a dip in quality, but it may not be to someone’s personal preference. 

 

DK:

True

 

H+H:

I’ve recently talked to two different people on the subject  that I consider highly knowledgeable about cannabis. My boss – Mike Bains from Heat + Herb and Janeen Davis from Joint Venture, and they had different preferences. Mike told me a few months ago that he thinks living soil is producing the best cannabis, and had used Sweet Grass as an example. Whereas when I interviewed Janeen, she told me with the living soil, there’s only two producers she’s ever dealt with, like growers she’s ever dealt with, where she can smoke it without having an allergic reaction. So she prefers to seek out growers who are using a soilless medium for her own consumption. And I found that really interesting. In the end, it may just be about preference. However, customers expect consistency. So that’s another thing because consistency from the same grower can be challenging, let alone multiple ones. Is that the reason why you’re setting up your own grows in your own facility, to take back some of that control and to maintain a consistent level?  

 

DK:

Yeah, definitely. 

 

Grower Transparency, Using Multiple Growers 

DK:

Speaking of different growers growing the same strain – you mentioned different growing mediums, like rock wool vs living soil. Well I could have two growers both growing in rockwool, but because of differences in facility and environment you can usually tell they’ve been grown by different teams. The growing environment is such a huge thing. I’ve heard that with other brands, using different growers where the product has been dramatically different between batches. So this is something I consider whenever bringing in a new grower and why I’m not really big on having multiple growers growing the same strain, but sometimes it’s necessary to fill demand. And as you said it can be a personal preference thing for some consumers. I try to be as involved as I can in the process because if we put out a bad Orange Tingz, I can’t have that grower continue to grow for Pistol & Paris. 

 

H+H:

Okay, because using multiple growers can be unavoidable in some circumstances and because this is a concern for some people, would you consider making batch numbers searchable on your website, so you could find out a little bit more about who grew it or are you just hoping to have consistency there and you really don’t need that level of transparency?

 

DK:

Well, I’ve recently started putting on all my labels which grower or facility they came from

 

H+H:

 

Okay that’s awesome, I wasn’t aware of that

 

DK:

Yeah I think transparency and giving credit to cultivators is really important

 

H+H:

That’s our shared philosophy at Heat + Herb, and really the reason behind the Highway podcast. Okay, so you’ve worked with 5 cultivators or around that mark?

 

DK:

That sounds about right, I think I have five growers that grow for me. I think I’ve had at most three people growing Orange Tingz. Yeah, that’s the thing, it can be really challenging working with micros too, and understandably some micros I work with, they don’t want to give me all four, or all five rooms that they have. 

 

H+H:

Why is that? 

 

DK:

Because they’re worried that I could get clogged up or get jammed up in a province. And if my sales slow down or don’t sell through, and they have a room coming down every two to three weeks, and I’m unable to take all of their products–

 

H+H:

Then they need to have another avenue set up that they can sell to 

 

DK:

Right, I tell all of the guys that I work with, they should talk with somebody else to take some of your product through another stream. Grow another strain. As much as I’d like to talk to these growers and go ‘hey, you know what, I think I’m going to be able to take all five of your rooms and I’m going to not have these other two growers grow it for me anymore’, it’s too risky for both of us

 

H+H:

I hadn’t really considered that. What are the associated risks on the grower’s end?

 

DK:

Well, it’s kind of scary for that facility to be so invested in one crop with one brand. Say they are growing Orange Tingz exclusively for me, and all of a sudden my sales start slowing down or a strike happens, or the OCS gets hacked. And now my sales have stagnated and I have to be like, ‘You know what, guys, I can’t take this fourth or fifth room that just came down’ So, that’s another challenge that a lot of people don’t see that these micros and brands like Pistol & Paris face.

 

The Importance of Unique Genetics

H+H:

Okay, so we’ve talked about your vetting process for cultivators, but what about the cultivars themselves? How important are unique genetics? 

 

DK:

Very important. I look for really unique strains now. That’s how the Orange Tingz came about. I’m looking for unique strains that not everybody has out there. And to grow them consistently. 

 

Assessing Cannabis Quality 

H+H:

How do you assess or grade cannabis and what are the most important qualities?

 

DK:

For me being a Legacy guy, bag or jar appeal which is a little bit different on the legal side, is big. So looking at the bud, looking at its structure, opening that bag or a jar, sticking your nose in there smelling the strong aromas. I’m always looking for that dankness. I love giving the bud a squeeze and having it stick to my finger. So the smell, the look and overall stickiness of the bud. Those are the things I generally look for

 

H+H:

Would you say you’re using a Legacy grading system, with quads being the highest? And the goal is to be all quads under the Pistol & Paris brand? 

 

DK:

Yeah, and it kind of sucks in the legal space when you compare it to the Legacy days. In the Legacy days we could try it, we could smoke it before we committed to buying it all. Do a smoke test first. In the legal space, when I go to a facility, we can’t smoke it, all I can do is look at it, which is good, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The final stage is really smoking and making sure that it burns good, and not black. It’s something I actually specify very heavily in all my contracts. The burn is so important 

 

H+H:

So even at a discount, there are somethings you can’t look past for the integrity of the brand 

 

DK:

To be honest, not too long ago I was offered cannabis to buy –  a 20 kg pack that was packed recently, at a price that wasn’t free but really, really cheap. I shared this story with Mike (Bains

 

– Heat + Herb) as well, but I told the guy ‘listen, even if this was free, I still would never put that under my brand’. Because if it doesn’t burn I can quickly ruin my own reputation

 

H+H:

Brand integrity is something extremely important to us at Heat + Herb as well. I once saw a poll where they asked consumers within the cannabis space, how many chances they would give a brand? And 70% said one time if it’s bad, they wouldn’t try that brand again if any one cultivar did not meet their expectations for the price they paid. Customers and retailers have a lot of options to choose from, and this industry can be pretty cutthroat and unforgiving in that sense. I think this a good segue into talking about setting up your own facility and how that is giving you more control over the process. 

 

The Design & Build of their Facility in Agassiz

H+H:

So, getting back to your own plans for growing – during the podcast you mentioned you were going to follow a similar process to Jbuds

 

DK:

Yeah actually just to clear up what I meant there, I am using the same guys that designed their facility.

 

H+H:

Oh, okay. Who are they?

 

DK:

Brian and Josh, actually Josh from Organnicraft. They are partners in a company called Concept Controls. They put together some of the nicest grow rooms I’ve ever seen. Brian actually, he’s the lead guy with all the design work and HVAC, BTUs and AC, all that sort of stuff. So they designed Jbuds’ facility. Brian’s already designed my facility and I’m basically running the exact same environment for my rooms. The medium I’ll probably do the same also, but yeah in my opinion these guys put together the nicest facilities and grow rooms. 

 

H+H:

That makes a lot of sense then, why Jbuds was able to come out of the gate so hot, and produce straight fire. There is of course a massive learning curve involved for any new grower, but having some seasoned professionals design and consult on your facility, would be a huge leg up. And Organnicraft are amazing producers themselves – oh man, I love their Platinum Grapes so much 

 

DK:

I got one coming soon which is very similar. 

 

H+H:

Dope 

 

DK:

That strain is just killer. Yeah, you’ll see that one coming from Pistol & Paris pretty quick

 

Plans for The Facility 

H+H: 

Is your ultimate goal then to be completely self-sufficient and grow all of your weed in-house? Or do you always plan to work with other cultivators and growers?

 

DK:

No, no, no. I mean, because I built up the brand that I have and have the relationships that I do with a lot of these micros, Pistol & Paris has been a big part of their successes as well. I’ll definitely be growing a lot out of my facility – we’re gonna grow two strains and rotate them, but I will still have other guys growing under my brand

 

H+H:

Are you going to use your facility to package other brands and contract it out or is it strictly for your own brand? 

 

DK: 

No, that’s a good question. At this point, my main focus is just processing all of my own product that goes under Pistol & Paris. I do have a couple guys where I buy their product, they grow a couple of rooms for me, and I really support them going out and trying to build their own brand. I really push them to get established and active on social media, to at least try and build their brand. So a couple of these guys that grow for Pistol & Paris, I am going to do some packaging for them. But it’ll be more just my inner crew, my inner circle of guys–

 

H+H:

Just a select few

 

DK:

I’m not doing this to compete with other processors. This is mostly just for Pistol & Paris 

 

H+H:

Right. And with an external processor you are one of many clients, and they can only handle so much volume at a time. Whereas, handling your own packaging, you can always be the priority. What’s the timeline for your build out? 

 

DK:

I’ve already applied for my processing license. I have a space on my property that is built out for just a tiny little process, a tiny little processing room. We’ve already applied for it. My building is going to be done supposedly in February of 2023, then we’ll make an amendment to my license and move everything over there. 

 

Greatest Benefit to Owning a Facility 

 

H+H:

What do you think the greatest benefit will be to owning a facility? 

 

DK:

For one I think the consumers are gonna get the weed way quicker. They’re not going to have to wait for replenishment deliveries anymore. 

 

H+H:

So, more frequent restocks and just greater consistency in availability more or less 

 

DK:

I’m going to be able to get my own purchase orders, and I’m just going to be in full control, which will really change Pistol & Paris’s trajectory and where we’re headed. And not to mention the cost – Now for me to do pre rolls, it costs me basically 50 cents per joint having a third party do it. I’ll be doing all of that stuff in house and saving with every gram. So it’s huge. 

 

H+H:

What kind of system are you going with for prerolls? 

 

DK:

We’re keeping it super simple and we’re gonna go with the Knockbox style. 

 

H+H:

From what I’ve heard, simpler is better. Some of these “fully automated” machines that cost half a million dollars spend more time getting gummed up and serviced than in use. 

 

DK:

Exactly, so I haven’t bought my machine yet, because I am waiting for my processing license to be finalized. It takes a bit of time, but as soon as I do, we’re going to just keep it simple. With the Knockboxes we’ll be able to produce six or seven thousand prerolls a day which will be more than enough for me. We’ll do a couple of shifts a week sort of thing. But just that alone you’re saving a buck a gram right there. 

 

Staffing the New Facility 

H+H:

What about on the trimming side, do you have a crew or team you usually work with? 

 

DK:

Yeah, I’ve got a lot of trimmers that have worked for me over the years that are just awesome, awesome workers, so loyal, dependable, and I mean, these are going to be the people that I’m bringing in, my Legacy clippers, that are going to be coming in and doing my processing for me now. We’ll start small with a team of three women, who are clipping, doing the jars or bags and pre rolls and all that sort of thing for me again. 

 

H+H:

So they are a team of women that you worked with in the Legacy days? 

 

DK:

Yup

 

H+H:

I think that’s something that, like with Joint Venture who have an all female sales team, should be acknowledged – and that’s employing Legacy workers, and providing specifically female Legacy vets with opportunities within the legal cannabis space. 

 

New Cultivars in the Pipeline

 

H+H:

Okay, you mentioned earlier you had a strain similar to Platinum Grapes hitting the market soon – any others? 

 

DK:

Yeah, I’ve got one called Lemon Titi. It just got accepted into Ontario. And this stuff here man, it’s killer. 

 

H+H:

What’s it like? 

 

DK:

 

It’s got a citrus profile, very unique, and it is just – I mean, the bud structure, the cake on it, the smell of it, the stickiness – all that. This stuffs just straight fire. So I’m really excited. We’re just waiting for a PO in Ontario. 

 

H+H:

Please say it’s coming to BC too (laughing) 

 

DK:

It’s coming to BC very soon. Black Blossom is another one that I’m getting registered in BC, I just got a PO for it in Alberta. Once I get a PO in any province, I mean, I’m trying to bring it nationwide. I wish it was easier than it is to get them all registered. I just got a PO for another new strain called Hawaiian Santa

 

H+H:

Who’s growing that one? 

 

DK:

Verte West, they grow that one for me, and it’s just dynamite

 

H+H:

What’s the nose like on it? 

 

DK:

Fruity, kind of gassy. Oh, it’s just killer man.

 

Pheno Hunter/Master Grower 

H+H:

Do you have a designated pheno hunter on staff? 

 

DK:

No, I don’t. I’m still the guy that deals with any cultivars that we’re bringing to market. When my facility out in Agassiz is built, I’ve got a guy named “X”, we’ll call him – Mike knows the name.

 

H+H:

He was actually on the tail end of the Highway podcast talking about flying in the helicopter and not wanting to take a dab beforehand, right? 

 

DK:

Yeah. Yeah, that guy. I’ve been working with his dad for 20 years, basically. I knew X when he was 12 or 13, and this guy on the Legacy side – this guy, you know, the legacy side, it’s

 

almost lights out for everybody, but this guy is still killing it. I mean, he grows the nicest flower out of anyone I’ve seen. I compare him to one or two other guys. And they’re the only people that are surviving right now on the Legacy side. So he is going to be part of Pistol & Paris, well he already is part of Pistol & Paris. So that’s going to be really his main focus, because the passion that this guy has for the plant, for what he’s producing, and that is next level. I mean, he’s got more passion for the plant than I do. And that’s the difference between a good and great grower, I think. I was always a good grower, but I was never that guy growing straight fire bombs. And I think that’s one of the reasons why if you’re so passionate about gardening and plants and that sort of stuff, and love spending that extra time in those rooms with those plants, I think you get a superior product

 

H+H:

100%. In my opinion, the best weed comes from people that actually have a strong connection with the plant and that’s why in most cases you can’t scale this stuff. You can’t scale it and have the same fire product. In most cases it doesn’t work because there’s something to do with the connection between the grower and the plant – I swear 

 

DK:

It’s crazy but there really is

 

Cannabis Genetics/Breeding Programs 

 

H+H:

Will X or someone else be involved in an in house breeding program?

 

DK:

I don’t think we’ll be getting that in depth with it. That’s almost like a whole other level. I do have a friend actually who does that – Heat Hunters over in Victoria. In Shawnigan lake there’s a guy named Rob, and he’s like a scientist, this guy. I’m going to be dealing with guys like Heat Hunters that have the insane genetics that I think Canada really needs. Down in the states it’s a lot more prominent where you’ll find genetics that’ll just knock your socks right off. Out here, I think there’s a big gap in the market for that. I think that is really needed, guys that just have these crazy genetics that they bring to market that people just effing love.

 

H+H:

I think it’s very important to have unique genetics and signature strains you’re known for, like you and Orange Tingz 

 

DK:

If you have a strong brand and crazy genetics, I mean it sets you up for success and it’s what’ll get people talking. 

 

H+H:

A good example of that would be BLKMKT because they have so many genetics in their vault that they’re able to just keep on

rotating them through and trying them out. I’ve liked some more than others, but they hit more often than they miss. They maintain a high standard as well and I would consider them your competitors on the premium side. They may also be one of the exceptions in regards to being able to scale and still maintain craft standards and quality. 

 

DK:

Yeah, they won best flower at the AR Cannabis cup the year prior to me. X actually grew up with those guys. And, buddy, I’m telling you – we went through their facility in Vernon, and I didn’t think a 600-700 light show could compete with micros in quality. But their show was the nicest I’ve ever seen, and their genetic game – they’ve got a whole new menu of genetics on the market now. 

 

H+H:

Yeah, I think they have over 60 different cultivars in their genetics vault. 

 

Competitors/Contemporaries 

H+H:

So, I would assume you see BLKMKT as competitors in the premium quality tier. Who else do you see as contemporaries? 

 

DK:

Organnicraft, and you’ve got Ghost Drops and Cookies that you mentioned earlier. Lot 420, Sweet Grass, Dunn Cannabis – Cake & Caviar as well. But to be honest, I don’t look at a lot of that stuff. I mean, I know who they are, and I’m aware of who the top sellers are at my price range, but I don’t pay a lot of attention to what my competitors are doing

 

Mentors or those who inspire in the Cannabis Space 

 

H+H:

Is there anyone in the cannabis industry that has either mentored or lent guidance to you that you want to shut out?

 

DK:

When I first came into the market, early 2021 I really looked up to Bubba from Greybeard. 

 

H+H:

He’s awesome 

 

DK:

That guy’s unbelievable. He’s a legend. 

 

H+H:

I actually used him as a reference when I applied with Heat + Herb. 

 

DK:

Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, you know, he was the first guy – I’ve never had social media in my life until I got into this space. So my wife and I, we’d be laying in bed and we’re flipping through Instagram and looking at other cannabis companies and that sort of stuff. And Greybeard, with Bubba – he always really stood out to me, with the stuff that he was doing, how he was connecting with the retailers. 

 

H+H:

Their marketing and branding is great. I worked with him on a chain wide display showcase at my last job, and the materials they created at his farm in Hamilton for it were awesome. 

 

DK:

I’m always trying to one up somebody that’s come up with a great idea, and we were watching them dealing out his boxes on social media-

 

H+H:

The wooden crates, and the crow bar. That’s actually how I first met him. It was such a great idea and memorable experience for me, even just talking with him afterwards. Connecting with him through that, I then prioritized working with Greybeard when I got to the Head Office level for that company. 

 

DK:

Yeah, man. Retailers just loved it, opening the crate with him was just such a cool experience. My wife and I were trying to figure out how we could one up that idea, something that fit our brand. Like a little hockey bag kind of thing from the legacy days that we could share with retailers and open up, but that guy there, man, I looked up to him – I still look up to him, 100%. 

 

H+H:

Bubba is super inspiring and exactly the type of person I love collaborating with and supporting in this industry

 

DK:

 

Yeah, so at the AR Cannabis Cup when we won he came up on the stage with me, and I shook his hand – it was a really surreal moment, and I got to tell him how much I looked up to him and how much I respect everything he’s done. 

 

H+H:

Yeah, he’s super driven and has earned every bit of his success 

 

DK:

Yeah, I mean he’s on the road over 300 days a year traveling across Canada. At one point I was looking to hit every spot in BC, and man, you really have to dedicate yourself to that grind. So hats off to him, and yeah he’s someone I really admire. 

 

H+H:

And there’s a reason why Aurora bought Greybeard, right? It was to install those guys to be the engine that powers the company. 

 

Who Else is Most Responsible for Pistol & Paris’ Success? 

 

H+H:

Okay, so speaking of successes in the cannabis industry, aside from yourself, who is the most responsible for Pistol & Paris’ success?

 

DK:

My wife, Brittany, without a doubt. She’s so supportive of me with building the brand and building our facility out in Agassi. You know, I’m not gonna lie, there’s been times where I felt like this is just so challenging what I’m doing in this space and I’m not a quitter, whatsoever, but Brittany really encourages me to stay focused, to stay the course, and to keep doing what I’m doing. 

 

H+H:

That’s great. Cannabis is all about relationships, too, right? Just in general. But it’s always cool to see a husband and wife killing it in the cannabis space. Reminds me a bit of another micro we featured on the Highway. Smoker Farms and Jeff & Sheri Aubin who are also a husband and wife team as well. They have such a passion for the plant, and it really shines through in their product. 

 

DK:

For sure. My wife and I met in 2015 and she’s actually the exact opposite of me. 

 

H+H:

Opposites attract right? 

 

DK:

Yeah, she’s just a really chill person. She does yoga and meditates every day, whereas I’m always hair slicked back with a million things on the go. Her and me getting together, I think she brings that calmness over me, and I bring some things out in her. So I think we just balance and compliment each other really well. And Brittany is a huge part of my, and Pistol & Paris’ success. 

 

How They Are Expanding the Brand

 

H+H:

Are there any other ways you’re looking to expand the brand? I know you have your online accessories as well, right? Is that a different website? Or?

 

DK:

Yeah, it’s its own entity – Pistol & Paris apparel. When I first came into the market, I wanted to give retailers some shirts and hats and that sort of stuff. And there were a lot of consumers wanting swag as well. So with just the overall demand from consumers, I ended up starting up my apparel site. 

 

H+H:

And what can people find there? 

 

DK:

So we’re selling all my apparel and then a bunch of accessories too. 

 

H+H:

Have you seen your swag out in the wild? 

 

DK:

Yeah actually, it’s been really cool. Like I was in Toronto, a month ago and I’m walking down the sidewalk and some guy walks past me wearing a Pistol & Paris hat, I get that all the time. Friends will see it around Kelowna, or my oldest son will be in Metrotown and see somebody walk by in a hoodie. So yeah, it’s really not something that I put all of my focus in, but it actually works really well with brand building. 

 

Lobbying & Legal Impediments

 

H+H:

Are you part of any lobbying groups? 

 

DK:

I am not 

 

H+H:

As your company grows would you be willing to assign a rep and make a financial commitment to a new lobbying organization which represents the interests of the cannabis industry as a whole? That has voices from all aspects of the supply chain? 

 

DK:

Explaining it like that, then 100% I’d be down. 

 

H+H:

Awesome, I may reach out to you in the future regarding that. Janeen Davis has some great ideas on the creation of a group like this and it’s something I’m willing to commit time and energy to, and help to develop in the future. So on the subject of lobbying and legal impediments, what do you think are some of the legal changes you’d like to see enacted in the cannabis industry?

 

DK:

Marketing restrictions. They’re ridiculous. Just compare what I can do with my apparel brand with what I can and can’t do with the cannabis brand. 

 

H+H:

It’s extremely restrictive and unfair when compared to the alcohol industry. We can’t even sponsor events. I used to be a singer in a metal band and just about every show I ever played was sponsored by a beer company or had a stage sponsored by one. Think about how perfect it would be for a cannabis company to sponsor a comedy show or live music event. It just seems silly that we can’t. 

 

D+K:

It’s got to change at some point, you’d figure but here we are four years into legalization, and it’s just totally unfair right now. Why is it so different from alcohol laws?

 

H+H:

From what I was told they wanted to have a heavy hand at the start because it’s easier to ease restrictions over time than to have to tighten them up if they erred in the other direction, say for edible limits and things like that. Hasn’t worked so well, and it’s detrimental to having a sustainable industry in my opinion. 

 

Launching Products in New Categories 

H+H:

Speaking of edibles have you thought of launching a Pistol & Paris edibles or drink brand? 

 

DK:

I haven’t thought about edibles or drinks, but I am really excited to let everybody know – I haven’t really told anyone, you’re really the first person I’ve told what I’m about to tell you–

 

H+H:

I’m always down for an exclusive

 

DK:

I’m collabing with Dymond extracts. We’ll be coming out with three carts, which should probably be available in the next 60 to 90 days. We’re just sending everything off for it right now. So yeah, I’m really excited to do something with them. 

 

H+H:

Will Orange Tingz be one? 

 

DK:

I can’t let you guys know yet, it’s going to be a surprise 

 

H+H:

Well, I’m sure they’ll be tasty regardless.

 

Thank Yous and Goodbyes 

H+H:

And I think that wraps up all the questions I had for you. Thanks so much for your time and consideration. I’m really looking forward to some of the cultivars and products you have coming to market, and you’ll be sure to find them at your local Heat + Herb. It was really great talking with you

 

DK:

You too buddy, take care 

Heat & Herb X The Highway Weed Podcast Candid Conversations, Candid Conversation, Candid Conversation Podcast, Weed Podcast

Once again, thank you for tuning into episode one of Candid Conversations! As always, keep your eyes open for more Candid Conversation episodes and weed podcast episodes! Remember, The Highway Podcast is on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and of course, on the Heat and Herb Website!

SOCIALS

🛣️ The Highway Podcast

📺 YouTube: tinyurl.com/ypwu4rac

📷 Instagram: @the.highway.podcast 

🐦Twitter: @_the_highway_podcast_

 

🚁 Pistol & Paris Cannabis

🕸️ Website: pistolandparis.com

📷 Instagram: @pistolandpariscanada 

🐦Twitter: @BrandPistol 

📺 YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/4ckneka4

 

🚁 Pistol & Paris Apparel 

🕸️ Website: pistolandparisapparel.com

 

🔥 Heat + 🌿 Herb

🌲 Linktr.ee: linktr.ee/heatandherb

🕸️ Website: heatandherb.com 

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David Burgomaster (🔥 Heat + 🌿 Herb) 

📷 Instagram: @ogrub 

🐦Twitter: @YellowBlackGold 




Others Mentioned:

 

Mike Bains (🔥 Heat + 🌿 Herb) 

📷 Instagram: @beanbag1620 

🐦Twitter: @pacificcraft420 

 

Jbuds Cannabis 

📷 Instagram: @jbudscannabis 

🐦Twitter: @jbudscannabis

 

Organnicraft:

🕸️ Website: organnicraft.ca

📷 Instagram: @organnicraft 

🐦Twitter: @organnicraft

 

Dymond Concentrates

🕸️ Website: dymondconcentrates.com

📷 Instagram: @dymondconcentrates 

🐦Twitter: @Dymond_710 

 

Janeen Davis 

📷 Instagram: @maryjane.een 

🐦Twitter: @ms_janeen_davis

 

Bubba Nicholson 

📷 Instagram: @bubbanicholson

🐦Twitter: @BubbaNicholson

Into the Weeds Podcast 

📺 YouTube: tinyurl.com/bdzmhryr

📷 Instagram: @getintotheweeds

 

Greybeard Cannabis 

🕸️ Website: greybeardcannabis.com 

🐦Twitter: @Greybeard710 

 

Cake & Caviar 

🕸️ Website: cakeandcaviar.life

📷 Instagram: @cake_caviar 

🐦Twitter: @cake_caviar

 

Dunn Cannabis 

🕸️ Website: dunncannabis.com

📷 Instagram: @dunncannabis

🐦Twitter: @dunncannabis 

 

BLKMKT 

🕸️ Website: blk-mkt.ca

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