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Utah in the Weeds Episode #52 – Josh & Derrick from Utah Hemp Growers/Uinta Cannabis

What to Expect in this Episode

Utah in the Weeds Episode 52 features a fascinating discussion with two hemp growers named Josh and Derrick. They are friends who met through their shared appreciation of disc golf. Josh’s background is in plant biology where Derrick’s is in the medical side of things. Between them, they run two businesses: Uinta Cannabis in Utah and Utah Hemp Growers based in Nevada.

Uinta Cannabis was the first company formed. During the conversation, the partners revealed that Josh had the idea to become a grower first. After talking to a lot of people but not finding any interest, he met Derrick. They came up with a viable business plan and recruited investors.

The idea for the Utah Hemp Growers marketplace was born out of a desire to sell raw flower. The partners were able to initially do so, but then Utah law changed. Now they have to sell from Nevada. Incidentally, their Nevada company only sells hemp products produced by Utah growers.

Josh and Derrick discussed the many hoops they have to jump through to make their business work. For starters, they had to secure a lease before they could even apply for a license. Since then, they have gone to great lengths to maintain regulatory compliance.

Josh and Derrick also spent time discussing their philosophy of focusing on product experience rather than chasing specific cannabinoid profiles. They explained that experience is more important because people react to profiles differently. It is an interesting approach that Tim and Chris seemed to warm to as they listened to the explanation.

Episode 52 is the latest in a line of interviews from business owners actively on the ground. If you are interested in what it takes to get hemp to market, this is a conversation for you.

Resources in This Episode

More Information Coming Soon…

Follow the podcast at UtahMarijuana.org, or leave us a message at (385) 215-9557.
Check out Chris Holifield’s other podcast, I am Salt Lake.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Discover Marijuana.

Podcast Transcript

Chris:

All right, let’s welcome everybody out today to episode 52 of Utah in the Weeds. How are you doing today, Tim?

Tim:

I’m doing good, Chris. I’m excited for episode 52 in this conversation with these two guys with some military background, right?

Chris:

Yeah, Josh and Derrick from Utah Hemp Growers and Uinta Cannabis. They got a fantastic story of kind of how they started growing hemp and how it kind of evolved into this business selling other Utah hemp farmer’s hemp basically to people here in Utah.

Tim:

Right, created a marketplace because there really wasn’t one for their products and a good discussion about the intricacies, again, of this getting into the hemp growing space and what you have to do to sell smokable flower in Utah and some of those technicalities. I thought the biggest takeaway for me, Chris, with this interview was that sometimes more regulation is better.

Chris:

Yeah, exactly.

Tim:

Right, because there’s clear … There’s a clearer pathway to your business model and to getting people the products that they need.

Chris:

Yeah, no, I think our listeners are going to love this conversation. I was actually really excited after we finished recording. I’m like I can’t wait to get this up for everybody to listen to. So make sure you stick around for the whole conversation. We’re going to get into that here in just a minute. Utahmarijuana.org/podcast is where you can listen to all the podcast episodes. Make sure you’re sharing them with your family and friends because that’s how we get the word out about the podcast. Is there anything going on, anything new, with you, Tim, going on that you need to share with our listeners?

Tim:

I mean here we come up, this will be the first episode in April and 4/20 is going to come up. We have Earth Day. We’ll be announcing some service that we want to do through utahmarijuana.org in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for the next episodes on that. Yeah, I mean this is just an exciting month. It’s the celebratory month-

Chris:

Yeah, 4/20, baby!

Tim:

Right.

Chris:

We finally got a 4/20 that we can celebrate and hopefully, I want to have some good episodes this month. Well, we got good episodes every week. So make sure to subscribe-

Tim:

You ought to stay tuned.

Chris:

… in whatever podcast app you listen to. We got a brand new episode every week, 4:20 a.m. on Friday. Let’s get into that episode with Josh and Derrick from Uinta Cannabis and Utah Hemp Growers.

Tim:

All right, enjoy everybody.

Chris:

Thanks for listening.

Tim:

Yeah, I mean here we are with Josh and Derrick. I mean how did you guys meet?

Josh:

Well, I had had the idea for getting a grow started for quite some time and I had gone through quite a few people with the idea, saying, “Hey, I’m thinking about starting up a cannabis grow,” and most people were kind of under that assumption of just like oh yeah, you want to grow free weed, whatever.

Tim:

Right, of course.

Josh:

And so, it was actually-

Tim:

And it was popular like when are you having these conversations?

Josh:

I mean I had approached some family and friends with a legitimate business plan saying, “Hey, I want to get this going,” and there was the initial excitement and then it would fizzle out into nothing-

Tim:

Right.

Josh:

… and so-

Tim:

You’re like wow, this is so great. We’re going to grow cannabis.

Josh:

Yeah, and I’m like okay, but this is a serious business. We’re going to be farmers. It’s work every day and so approaching people, it would just … Like I said, just fizzle out and I actually approached Derrick about it, just in passing conversation at our little disc golf group and he actually showed interest and so we got to talking about it and then we thought up a business plan and started drafting up ideas and started raising capital and just went from there.

Chris:

Wow. How did the two of you even meet?

Josh:

Through common friends.

Chris:

Through common friends? Okay.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah, through kind of a disc golf crew-

Chris:

Disc golf. Man, that’s one of those things I need to learn how to-

Josh:

Oh, it’s fantastic.

Chris:

I hear from everybody about how much fun that game is and I’ve never played.

Tim:

It is a fun game and there is nowhere you have to pay for it, right?

Josh:

No, it’s free.

Tim:

It’s free everywhere you play.

Josh:

Yeah, except-

Tim:

There’s a cool course in West Bountiful that I’ve played at. There used to be a course up at the University of Utah but I think they’ve taken most of it down?

Derrick:

Yeah, that was a free course. Yeah, I think they took a good portion of it down. I play mainly at Creekside. So it’s free-

Tim:

Oh, okay.

Derrick:

It’s beautiful. It’s like one of the first 50 courses in the entire country. It’s great.

Tim:

I think if you just show up and throw a disc, I mean that’s my experience, right?

Josh:

Yeah, you can show up and start on hole four and play through hole nine and walk out, so yeah.

Tim:

Okay, well-

Josh:

I still suck at it.

Tim:

Yeah, well.

Chris:

So, what came first, Uinta cannabis or Utah Hemp Growers. I would imagine Uinta Cannabis came first…

Josh:

Uinta Cannabis came first. That was thought up beginning of 2019 and we got serious about it early fall, raised the capital that we needed from some friends and family and our life savings, both of … Just all the money that we had and so we filed for the permits and-

Chris:

Was it tough to file for all that? I mean were there obstacles? I mean this is Utah we’re talking about here.

Derrick:

Oh, wow, yeah, obstacles.

Josh:

The biggest obstacle by far was that the law required us to have a location locked in before we could file for our grow license, which kind of sucked because-

Chris:

So, you had to have a leased signed? You had to sign a lease almost-

Josh:

Correct.

Chris:

… get into debt and not even be guaranteed-

Josh:

… before we could get a grow license.

Derrick:

Correct.

Tim:

Yeah, how does the landlord look at that? He’s like you’ve signed a lease, you’re hooked.

Josh:

Yeah, so-

Tim:

Whether you get a permit or not.

Josh:

Yeah, exactly. We went through-

Tim:

Right, you’re going to grow potatoes, you’re going to grow cannabis.

Josh:

Yeah, we went through about 15 different locations of people not calling us back-

Derrick:

Flat out saying no.

Josh:

… stringing us along. The second that you mention cannabis, they’re just like nope, we want nothing to do with that.

Derrick:

No, thank you.

Tim:

What year is this that you’re-

Josh:

2019.

Derrick:

Yeah.

Tim:

Oh my gosh, this is so recent.

Josh:

Yes.

Derrick:

Yes.

Tim:

But this is during the time when … And we’ve talked to quite a few guests about this, the time when CBD oil and biomass is still profitable.

Josh:

Yeah, one acre was like $150,000.

Derrick:

Yeah, ridiculous. Yeah.

Tim:

You were right at the end.

Josh:

Green rush.

Tim:

I mean you were getting into the business right before it just-

Josh:

Well, I saw … I saw the writing on the wall-

Tim:

… crushes you.

Josh:

… that everyone’s going to jump in. People are going to jump in that have never touched cannabis and the markets going to-

Tim:

Or never been farmers.

Josh:

… or never been farmers and it’s going to inflate it and crash it and look what happened.

Tim:

Wow.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

What are you thinking about all this, Derrick? When all this is going on, what’s going through your mind? Not the crash, the ramp up into it, we’ll get to that.

Derrick:

Oh, the ramp up into the business?

Tim:

Yeah.

Derrick:

Oh, I was all for it. I was coming from a little bit different perspective of Josh. Josh has the plant biology background under his belt where I had more of the medical side. I came through a … My process of being a personal trainer and a crossfit coach and then going to physical therapy assistance school, getting a degree in exercise science, business management, like so that’s where I came from is seeing people who were utilizing either THC or CBD as a health and wellness mechanism and then I got to see the dichotomy of people using opiates and I don’t think I have to go into the opiate crisis that Utah is going through. So, I saw what those were doing for people and then right around that same time, Josh comes with this idea and it was just kind of an easy transition for me.

Tim:

So, 15 locations and you get one-

Josh:

We finally got one. I mean we have to be completely transparent from the get-go. You can’t like … You can’t say we plan on growing plants and then let them find out it’s cannabis later. So, we finally found a landlord that was willing to work with us, locked in the lease, supplied for the licenses, got the licenses and then started the process of getting our business license and our first crop went in end of 2019 and we were like, let’s do this, it’s great. The only thing that can shut us down is if the world were to stop.

Derrick:

And that’ll never happen, right?

Chris:

Right, I mean that’ll never-

Derrick:

Something happened in 2020 that shut the world down.

Josh:

2020 hits and …

Tim:

Yeah, this is 2019.

Chris:

Now, did you end up getting a place here in Salt Lake? I mean obviously, I don’t need to know the exact location but what area are you in kind of because we’ve chatted with people in Logan, Sandy, I was just kind of curious about where you were at.

Derrick:

Yeah, we’re in South Salt Lake, a little-

Chris:

Okay, okay.

Derrick:

… about 1800 square foot warehouse.

Chris:

Okay, indoor grow?

Tim:

Everything’s indoor?

Josh:

Everything’s indoor.

Tim:

Why do you want to do indoor? Was that a choice?

Josh:

Yeah, I prefer indoor hydroponic or aeroponic just because of the level of control that you have over the plants. It’s a lot harder to do and you have a much, much smaller window than using soil but you have a much higher level of control in like your nutrient uptake and your water uptake and your lights and everything.

Tim:

Right, you can control the spectrum of light, the timing of the light. We’ve been to some of the medical grows and yeah, I mean they control everything.

Josh:

Yeah, I basically used everything that I had learned growing THC and just translated it directly over to help.

Tim:

Where’d you learn that?

Josh:

I spent a year up in Oregon supervising my own grow and making every mistake you can make, like powdery mildew, mites, fungus, gnats, everything, like too much humidity, but I needed that in order to learn what to do and what not to do.

Chris:

We were just talking about Oregon before you guys-

Tim:

I know, we were.

Chris:

… the prices of some marijuana up there.

Tim:

Yeah, the prices of product.

Chris:

An ounce for like what $60 for an ounce?

Tim:

Yeah, grand opening prices, $60 for an ounce, $60 for a top shelf half ounce, I mean it seemed like-

Chris:

Wouldn’t you like those prices to be here?

Tim:

Yeah, right.

Derrick:

That’d be great.

Tim:

Yeah, I mean alternatively, though, you don’t, right? Because you’re in business and like Bob Waters said, “Revenue is fuel.”

Chris:

True.

Josh:

True, there is a way though to be profitable at those prices still.

Tim:

Yeah.

Josh:

And I mean the … I don’t know the total acreage that they said that’s needed to supply the entire United States with THC flower is like less than a 100 acres or something.

Tim:

Yeah, just because-

Chris:

Really?

Tim:

Because the plants grow so well. They don’t require as much water. Because you have an indoor grow, all of your products then, or all of your grow is really based on not biomass per se, it’s on flower?

Josh:

Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

And what you can extract from the flower?

Josh:

Well, we’re not doing any kind of extraction. We actually … We hit up Mountain Valley Botanicals. I call them up and I said, “I need to get some flower extracted.” And he was like, “Okay, how many pounds are you working with?” And I was like, “10.” And he was like, “Oh yeah, our minimum size is like 1000 pounds.” I’m like okay, nevermind.

Derrick:

Okay, let’s go.

Tim:

So, really, you focused in … I’m looking in on your website and you focused then a lot on raw flower.

Josh:

Yup.

Derrick:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

But you weren’t able to sell raw flower up until now? How does that work in Utah?

Josh:

Well, so we started Uinta Cannabis to sell flower and flower products to customers and then UDAF axed that with the registration law, basically saying products need to be registered in the state of Utah but we will not register any flower or food additive products, which killed our business plan. And so we went to the drawing board thinking what are we going to do? Is this is end? We’ve been in business for less than a year and-

Tim:

You’ve sunk all your money and everybody you’re close to’s money.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Into this thing.

Josh:

Yeah. We had tried approaching the pharmacies but before the law changes, there was already enough red tape that it was a little bit cost prohibitive and now, since the law changes, it’s just like almost impossible to get it into the pharmacies and so we thought what do we do? And we came up with the idea of starting up a marketplace, a true marketplace for farms in Utah to get their flower and flower products out to the rest of the nation. Well, we couldn’t start a company in Utah, so we started a company in Nevada, completely 100% separate from Uinta Cannabis to act as a true marketplace and from the beginning, we’re the only farm that’s listed on it and we were thinking maybe summer of 2021, one, maybe two farms will approach us and say hey, we’re interested in getting on your marketplace and what can we do.

Josh:

Within the first week of going live mid-December, we had three farms reach out to us saying hey, we need to meet.

Tim:

Three farms from where? From Utah?

Josh:

From Utah. We only carry products from Utah farms.

Derrick:

Yeah, but…

Josh:

Specialize in things grown in Utah.

Tim:

And you realized…

Chris:

This is for utahhempgrowers.com, right?

Josh:

Correct.

Tim:

Right, so this is how Utah Hemp Growers got started?

Josh:

Yup.

Tim:

That’s a Nevada company-

Josh:

Yes.

Tim:

That is a marketplace for, basically, Utah hemp products to be sold around the nation but almost like a co-op?

Josh:

Not really. I mean there’s set boundaries established.

Tim:

Or do they just come and say, hey, look, we want to sell our products. We want you to help us network get these accounts set up and find places where we can sell our stuff?

Josh:

Well, we just open it up to the nationwide marketplace and-

Chris:

Everybody can buy it.

Tim:

Even Utah.

Josh:

Everybody, exactly-

Chris:

Even Utah people can buy it-

Tim:

Because you’re out of Nevada, so you can buy it back to use?

Derrick:

Yeah, that was kind of our main focus is to be able to get flower here.

Josh:

And one of the biggest risks in the hemp market is because so much of it is online, you’re having to take a risk as a customer of buying from a company that is brand new, that you’ve never heard of and that you’ve never met and so from a farmer’s perspective, what’s better than being able to sell what you’ve grown to your community and show-

Tim:

Well, of course, I mean that’s the whole point. We talked last week about this to Margie up in Cash County.

Chris:

The Hemp Folk.

Tim:

Yeah, The Hemp Folk, where this … People want to buy tomatoes from the local farmer-

Josh:

Yeah, exactly.

Tim:

And they’re going to want to buy, eventually, right-

Chris:

Some local CBG.

 

Yeah, right?

Josh:

Keeps the money in the state too.

Tim:

That’s right but you’ve had to go out of state to get it back in?

Josh:

Yes.

Tim:

A story we’ve heard three or four times now.

Chris:

I mean was that tough to set up? I mean, were there hoops that you had to jump through for that?

Josh:

It’s been a minefield of regulation, just tiptoeing and finding out-

Tim:

Even though it’s in Nevada? Even though-

Josh:

… how to do it right.

Tim:

… Nevada’s … I mean Nevada’s full legal for everything, really. So there probably wasn’t a lot of laws for Nevada that you had to jump through.

Josh:

Yeah, but well, the big sacrifice is we package and fulfill all of our shipments in Nevada and so there have been weeks where we will get one order and it’s a $20 order and we wait a day, maybe two days to see if more will come in and then we just have to bite the bullet, drive out to Nevada, fulfill the order and get it shipped and drive back.

Chris:

So, you have to do everything in Nevada? You can’t do it here in Utah?

Josh:

No.

Tim:

Because it has to be postmarked, that’s the key, right? You can’t hide.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Because the postmark. If that person was on UDAF and he made the order and it was postmarked here, you’re done.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Okay, so-

Josh:

There’s people doing it like that here but-

Chris:

Fun to learn about.

Josh:

We don’t delve into that.

Chris:

People don’t realize the obstacles that these guys are jumping through in the … How much extra work they’re doing for really little pay if you ask my opinion.

Tim:

I totally agree and I think also that every time we talk to another hemp grower, we talk to another person in the cannabis marketplace that is not … Specifically not in the medical side, the hoops that you have to jump through, you have to find the hoop, you have to find a way to jump through the hoop. No one is there to help you. The regulations are not clear. Every state is different whereas with the medical program, it does seem like those rules are set. It costs a lot of money to get in. You’re going to have a big infrastructure to do those things that you have to comply, right? To follow those compliance rules? And even though it seems it’s hard to get into the medical side, it does seem more straight forward.

Josh:

Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

Would you agree with that?

Josh:

Oh yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative), yup. The rules for the Utah hemp industry are unclear. They’re pretty undefined.

Tim:

And they that way, do you think, nationwide or is Utah unique there because I’ve also heard that Utah’s hemp laws are some of the best or most progressive or the marketplace is growing better. Is that just marketing?

Josh:

I would say it’s just marketing. I mean most of the country’s going off of USDA laws and with this recent change allowing flower on the shelves, it may look like a step forward but the current writing with 0.3% total THC post harvest means that your Delta-9 levels need to be 0.03 because you have to account for the other cannabinoids to stay under that 0.3.

Tim:

Okay, so let’s talk about the new law changes a little bit and let’s dig into this. Okay, we’re pretty clear on 0.3% or less of THC in any flower. So the law change … Explain what the law changed in Utah with flower … With hemp flower or CBD flower.

Josh:

So, it allowed for hemp flower and hemp flower products to be sold in brick and mortar, in-person, but it changed the wording to 0.3% total THC with a post harvest COA that has to be full-panel as well and then you have your-

Tim:

Uh-huh, so it includes Delta-10, Delta-9, Delta-8-

Josh:

Everything.

Tim:

All of the Deltas-

Josh:

All of the cannabinoids.

Derrick:

All of them.

Josh:

And that needs to be…

Derrick:

0.3 or lower.

Tim:

Okay.

Josh:

And this is after harvest when the plant is more likely to spike in its cannabinoid levels-

Chris:

Wow.

Josh:

So, USDA rules are 0.3 Delta-9 pre-harvest, before the plant has a chance to spike and you’re only measuring one cannabinoid. Utah is all the cannabinoids post harvest and that number needs to be below 0.3.

Tim:

All the tetrahydrocannabinol post harvest, not the CBD, CBG, CBN, all the tetrahydrocannabinol-

Josh:

Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

Which is a lot of Deltas, right?

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Now, this is specific because in other states, they’ve had Delta-8, this came up. I think … Tell me if I’m wrong, Delta-8 has been manipulated in other markets to sell something that will kind of get you high?

Josh:

Yeah, and for Utah Hemp Growers, we believe that that’s an imperfect practice. So we have it stated on our website, we will not carry any of that sprayed flower because that Delta-8 extract, it can be extracted or it can be synthesized. You have no idea where it’s coming from and you don’t know, unless you have a reliable, full-panel COA, you don’t know the amount of solvents that are still in that and so what we’re seeing is there’s a lot of people that are … I mean just straight with a paint sprayer, they just spray down the buds with this Delta-8 solution and then try and move it out the door to give you kind of an extra kick. It’s kind of weird. It seems like the new spice hype.

Tim:

Sorry, I had a patient recently that talked about the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 from an experience standpoint because there’s not a lot of research in the uptake of Delta-8 in the body. It does seem to be a peripheral uptake, not a brain uptake as much and he described … He smoked a half a gram of Delta-8 concentrate and he just described it as this almost tingly, numbing type feeling throughout his limbs.

Josh:

Oh wow.

Tim:

A much more peripheral experience where he didn’t have that psycho activity but it was still … It still had a significant effect, right?

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

And that Delta-8 seemed to be like the reason they changed the rules and the language in the law for the hemp side.

Josh:

Yeah, it’s a big factor in why they’re doing it.

Tim:

But it makes it really hard for you guys to take total THC and keep it under 0.3.

Josh:

Yeah, nearly impossible.

Tim:

Really?

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

What happens if your flower’s 0.35 or beyond the … There’s some sort of buffer.

Josh:

Yeah, there’s the 15% buffer. So you can go to 0.35 and still be able to-

Tim:

Still be technically legal?

Josh:

… put it on the market.

Tim:

But what happens if it’s 0.4?

Josh:

0.4, you’re allowed to remediate it into oil or destroy it without penalty and if you go above 1%, then they just notify law enforcement.

Chris:

And then law enforcement comes and arrests you?

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Then the black suburbans show up, oh my god.

Chris:

Even though you didn’t try to. I mean you grew hemp but then it … I mean what are the chances of it being too high?

Tim:

Yeah, how often do you get a hot … What do you call it? A hot crop?

Josh:

A hot crop. Going over 1% is pretty hard.

Chris:

Okay, okay. That’s why I was like, I wonder how hard is that? That might be kind of scary.

Josh:

Yeah, so I mean I can see why they wrote that but it is pretty intimidating.

Chris:

Yeah, noted, noted.

Tim:

I mean is there a way for you guys to test it before they come and test it?

Derrick:

So, we have a pre-harvest test that we pass. So that’s come and done … Performed by the state and then we have a certain window and then we have to do a post-harvest test.

Chris:

Well, I’m just wondering like that you guys can keep an eye on to make sure you’re not getting too hot?

Josh:

Yeah, I mean and growing the same strain over and over again-

Chris:

You kind of figure that out?

Josh:

… we know where it’s going to be and when it’s going to be and when it’s going to … If and when it won’t be compliant and so, there was one strain that we grew first that wasn’t compliant and we got rid of it because it just … It didn’t … It wasn’t even compliant when they came in pre-harvest.

Chris:

Oh right, so you’re like this is not going to work out, it’s just too hard. There’s plenty of other strains. How many strains do you get to choose from before you grow? Are there plenty of options?

Josh:

Oh, there’re tons of options.

Derrick:

Tons, yeah.

Tim:

Really?

Josh:

It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be quality in the end but there’re tons of options out there, yeah.

Tim:

And do you buy seeds or clones?

Josh:

Well, we start with seed and then if it turns out to be a phenotype that we like, then we’ll go off of clone off of just that one phenotype, just for control.

Derrick:

Yeah, like we’ve had three strains that we just pushed out that we didn’t like how any of them turned out as far as weight and we haven’t had a chance to partake upon them yet but just the way that they’re growing and stuff, they’re just not really probably what we’re going to continue with. So, we’re not stuck on any strains but we do have like our flagship, our Blue Mint. It’s a cross-strain of Charlotte’s Web and Harle Tsu that’s just phenomenal and you can’t get it anywhere else.

Tim:

Is the cannabinoid content … Like do you look for mixes of certain type of cannabinoids? Like the Blue Mint, describe that. Like what’s the cannabinoid content in something like that?

Josh:

Our CBD in that runs anywhere between like 13 and 15% but we’re not chasing any specific cannabinoid and we’re not chasing a terpene profile. We just try the flower. We give it out for samples for professional reviews and get feedback and there are some strains out there that we’ve sampled that are 25%, 28% CBD that just don’t cut it. So we’re not chasing any kind of specific profile-

Tim:

You’re chasing the experience?

Josh:

Yeah, does it have a good experience? Does it have good effects-

Derrick:

Yeah, because it’s medicine.

Josh:

Good smell? Good look?

Tim:

Yeah, and you’re hitting on a point here where the entourage effect of an interesting profile based on the person that consumes it, the way it’s consumed and that sort of thing can change, even regardless of the content. I think there is too much put on, for example, the percentage of THC in a flower, right?

Josh:

Correct.

Tim:

And we talk about this all the time.

Chris:

Every episode it seems like, right?

Tim:

Yeah, how the THC content, the percentage doesn’t matter, right? There’s been good studies that compare 15% THC to 25% and the reporting is that you just get just as high, right?

Josh:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

Or the experience is just as psychoactive. So, I like that approach, that’s pretty cool.

Derrick:

Yeah, the education needs to be … To just catch up and be spread more and more and I think that it’ll catch on over the next few years, hopefully, that people stop chasing individual cannabinoids. Just because it’s 33% THC doesn’t mean that it’s the flower that’s right for you.

Chris:

Yeah.

Tim:

Yeah, interesting. So now, how, with the law change though and you’ve got good product and it meets all the requirements, now can I go to your shop and buy it?

Josh:

Our website, because we don’t have any physical locations?

Tim:

Okay.

Chris:

Well, can we go on your website and get it shipped directly from-

Tim:

Yeah, can now …

Josh:

Yep, directly to your door.

Chris:

So, you don’t have to go to Nevada and ship it to me now?

Josh:

Well, no, now … Well, we still have to drive to Nevada and fulfill it but we can have it shipped right to your door.

Tim:

Okay, but how did the law change to allow smokable flower to be sold in Utah?

Josh:

If it’s being sold in Utah, if the transaction is taking place in Utah, then that product must be 0.3% total THC or less, have a full-panel lab post-harvest and be registered with the state, which I think is like $350 per product.

Tim:

And that’s every time you harvest? Probably.

Josh:

Yes, you must also, if you are going to fulfill that yourself, you have to have your cultivation license and a processing license now.

Tim:

For hemp?

Josh:

For hemp, for hemp.

Tim:

But you can still drive to Nevada and ship it back into Utah without following that part?

Josh:

Well, because we’re a Nevada company operating under Nevada laws under USDA laws-

Tim:

Oh my lordy.

Chris:

So, even with this new law, it doesn’t even matter.

Tim:

So, do you feel like the law is a benefit or is it a step in the right direction or does it just create a different set of issues?

Josh:

it’s a different set of issues because it’s going to open up the floodgates for low grade flower on Utah shelves-

Derrick:

People are going to-

Josh:

Because it has to stay under that percentage.

Derrick:

Yeah, people are going to get their first hemp experience buying let’s say a pre-roll in a store and it’s going to be a less than ideal experience.

Chris:

Because the company that makes that pre-roll or sells that flower is probably going to be a company that just grows in bulk and is there to make the profits and they just want to sell a product on the shelf, but they have enough money to jump through those new hoops?

Josh:

And staying compliant with that 0.3 total THC, that flower is going to have very, very low levels of all cannabinoids.

Tim:

And again, we have got to get to a point where we can have a range of zero THC all the way up to 30-whatever percent there is now and find ways to allow people to make these choices with their, in my opinion, medical provider, who can help make these choices on hey, you know what? You don’t want to get stoned out of your mind but you need something that’s like 1% or 2% THC, right? Because there’s none of that on the market.

Josh:

Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

Right, that doesn’t exist.

Josh:

It’s either high CBD or high THC batch.

Tim:

It’s 12-plus, 12 is way low THC or it’s 0.3% and less.

Derrick:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah, we’re getting really good feedback though on people that are mixing on a one-to-one ratio.

Tim:

Okay, so talk about that with regard to your products, like what’s the process of using these products and how best do we use them? Teach me. Teach me how to incorporate hemp flower, non-psychoactive essentially of cannabis flower into my regimen.

Derrick:

Well, I should say, it is psychoactive. It’s non-intoxicating.

Tim:

Got it. Okay, you’re of the school that, okay, when I say well, CBD is not psychoactive and you’re like well, actually, if you go to the definition of psychoactivity, then yes, it is because it’s calming-

Derrick:

People will feel an effect-

Tim:

Right, you can feel an effect.

Derrick:

… but you will not be intoxicated to where you’re couch locked or-

Tim:

Okay, yeah, totally fair.

Josh:

Yeah, it takes off like that top heaviness.

Tim:

Cannabis/marijuana, marijuana/cannabis.

Derrick:

Yeah, right.

Josh:

You can use it during the day for some strains … Well, for a lot of hemp strains to help with anxiety, inflammation, energy. Mixing it, people like to say that CBD nullifies THC. It does not nullify it. It works alongside it to help balance it out to where you’re not getting that spiral effect from ingesting too much THC and now you need to lay down because the world is spinning around you. It helps to balance that out to where you can have a nice psychoactive effect from the THC without going down that spiral.

Chris:

You’re building your own 3% product or 5% product essentially.

Derrick:

Correct, yeah.

Chris:

Right?

Derrick:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

From a physical standpoint, when you’re talking about training and you had talked about your coaching, Derrick, before, I mean do you see that more and more people in your old world, the crossfit world, the people who are really into their health are moving this direction?

Derrick:

Yeah, absolutely. People are sick of all the fillers in all the medicine. They’re sick of balms not really working whereas we have a salve that’s actually like healing people. They’re not having to kind of rely on it for a daily thing, they’re using it for like a week and their injury is fixed.

Josh:

Yeah, we’re careful not to make any medical claims and so all of this feedback is just … It’s coming unsolicited from customers that just send back feedback saying, “This helped me.” We’ve had feedback from people with epilepsy saying, “This is changing my quality of life. This flower is changing my quality of life,” and we’re not putting out, “Oh, this will fix your epilepsy.” We’re not saying that. We just say, “Here’s a product that has passed out standards for quality and we’re putting it out there because of its medicinal benefits. Use it as you see fit.” And then we get the feedback of people saying this is changing my life for the better.

Tim:

Oh, that’s cool. Do you want to get into the medical side?

Josh:

Eventually, yeah, that’d be great.

Chris:

When a license opens up, I guess, huh?

Josh:

And we have the …

Chris:

But at least you’ll have the experience now, right? And you’ll kind of already have your foot in the door.

Josh:

Correct.

Derrick:

Oh yeah.

Tim:

Yeah, and how many square feet is your grow?

Josh:

We have a total of about 1750 square feet and we’re using a third of it but we’re working on filling up the rest of it. So we’re really small.

Tim:

Yeah, yeah but as far as that goes, though, I mean it gives you really good opportunity to learn, grow, get established and then I mean, heck, there will be more-

Chris:

Oh, there’ll be more. There’ll be more.

Tim:

… medical here eventually. They’ll need more. They’ll need more different types of people and Utah’s interesting. When you look at like beer sales or beer … Like the breweries, for a longtime, it didn’t seem like Utah was a good place to buy beer-

Chris:

It’s one of the best now.

Tim:

But it’s one of the best now.

Chris:

In my opinion.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

Yeah, I mean we win all kinds of awards and even the low alcohol content of the beer almost made people work harder to make better beer-

Derrick:

Yeah.

Tim:

… and that craft product could translate into cannabis-

Derrick:

Exactly.

Tim:

… in Utah. We seem to be that type of group.

Chris:

It’ll be craft cannabis here, right?

Tim:

Right? And have some craft cannabis groups with small grows and-

Josh:

There’s always going to be a market for that small craft cannabis grow.

Chris:

Yeah. So, a couple of weeks ago we were talking to Margie, from The Hemp Folk, and she was talking about some interesting stories of mailing hemp. Have you guys run into any like interesting situations as far as hemp not getting to people or anything like … Yeah, she was telling us like-

Tim:

Oh my gosh.

Chris:

… she lost like $25,000 from one-

Derrick:

Oh wow.

Josh:

Yeah, well-

Chris:

… The post office just kept opening up her packages.

Derrick:

I wonder if she had like writing like her business name on there, yeah.

Chris:

The smell. I guess it was the smell.

Derrick:

Well, we haven’t had any issues with smell. The bags that we use are reliable and we’re actually phasing them out to get the child-proof bags. It’ll be more expensive but we’re staying compliant with how Utah has written the laws, so we changed up our labeling to be compliant and now we’re changing up the packages, even though I would say maybe 5% of our orders actually go to Utah. The rest of them go to the rest of the states but we’ve had-

Chris:

Oh, interesting.

Derrick:

… Yeah, we’ve had no issues with the packaging. I actually … When I sent out my first package, I had written Utah Hemp Growers on the return address-

Tim:

And you’re like, that’s a bad thing.

Derrick:

Well, the lady at the post office was like, “You should probably not do that.”

Tim:

Yeah.

Derrick:

Like just giving you some advice and so it really is just avoiding those things that say like CBD, hemp, cannabis, anything on the packaging that advertises it because then all it takes is one curious set of eyes to pry open your package and now it’s delayed. It never arrives. You lose your money.

Chris:

Yeah, you can put like … I’m trying to think of something to put. BYU or something like that.

Tim:

It’s the same thing with us, right? At Utah Therapeutic Health Center, our logo is the state with a cannabis leaf in it and we have a logo without the leaf because there are documents that we need to send that don’t … They don’t need that type of scrutiny, right? And it is a part of this business.

Chris:

It’s sad though that it has to be that way.

Tim:

Yeah, I think that it’s changing a little bit certainly you don’t want to go to the bank with that logo, right? You’ve got to have a name that the bank … The bank knows what you do but the bank needs to check their boxes and dot their Is and cross their Ts and they need their applications to flow through.

Chris:

But do you remember … I remember like back in the 90s, it seemed like it was the 90s, that like friends would wear like pot shirts and you’d be like, “Oh my gosh, you’re just asking to get tarred.”

Josh:

Yeah, for sure.

Chris:

Now, people wear it and it’s like, it’s okay.

Tim:

It is true. Now, this morning-

Chris:

So, it just goes to show-

Tim:

… We had this conversation at my house because we have some T-shirts that are healthcare-

Chris:

That have pot leaves on them?

Tim:

… to buzz about and they have the THC molecule on them and a couple of bees and they’re super cool T-shirts, I really like them. And then on the back, it’s classy on the front and then on the back, it says, utahmarijuana.org. And my son, who’s in sixth grade, he comes to me and he’s like, “Hey, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I don’t have anything green, what do you think, Dad?” And he laughs. He just chuckles. He’s like yeah, they’d kick me out.

Chris:

No, but I mean there was a time when you-

Tim:

You can only go so far.

Derrick:

Yeah.

Chris:

… couldn’t wear it. You’d be targeted.

Tim:

Oh yeah. Well, the Utah in the Weeds sweatshirts, right? We wore those around all the time.

Chris:

Yeah, and you couldn’t wear-

Tim:

No way.

Chris:

… Like 20-30 years ago, you couldn’t do that.

Tim:

Oh yeah, there’s no way.

Chris:

But so things are changing.

Derrick:

The one kid with the weed hoodie in high school and everyone looks at him like, we know.

Tim:

Yeah, like oh, we know. Yup.

Chris:

Yeah, because it’s like oh yeah, you’re just a supporter.

Tim:

Right, oh yeah, sure you’re an advocate.

Josh:

That was actually my first experience with cannabis is back in high school. I actually tried growing it.

Tim:

You did?

Josh:

Yeah.

Chris:

Did it fail or did you succeed?

Josh:

Oh, I thought I was like on top of the world and I was acting so stealthy and I had three little plants in solo cups under my computer desk and of course, I got caught like almost immediately-

Chris:

By your parents?

Josh:

By my parents.

Chris:

Oh, okay, okay.

Josh:

Who called down to the principal’s office and the school officer’s sitting there with the vice principal and this actually started my path into cannabis because she asked me, she was like, “Why were you growing?” And I told her, “My friends smoke and so I figured I would just grow it and they’re spending all this money on it, that way they don’t have to spend money on it and I’ll be the favorite friend of the group.” And she looked at me and she was like, “Do you want to kill your friends?”

Tim:

Oh my gosh.

Josh:

And I was shocked because I didn’t know anything about it and so I just looked at her and I was like, “Of course not. What did I do?” And so I caught a suspension for that and when I got back, I went to the school library and checked out every single book on cannabis that I could find.

Tim:

Oh wow.

Josh:

And just started reading.

Chris:

Were there a lot?

Josh:

Yeah.

Chris:

Oh wow.

Josh:

People were like … Oh well, like my classmates were like, “Can you be reading that?” And I’m like, “I assume. I checked it out.”

Chris:

I checked it out from the library.

Josh:

Yeah, and I just started reading on the history and everything and was like, she lied to me.

Tim:

Then you go into the military, both of you have military backgrounds, yeah?

Josh:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yup.

Tim:

You’re air force, Josh?

Josh:

Yes.

Tim:

Derrick?

Derrick:

Navy. I was almost seven years intelligence.

Tim:

Wow.

Derrick:

I was a communicator, so I did satellite communications, radio comms, point-to-point, network security, things of that nature.

Tim:

That’s pretty cool. Have you guys seen the new Army ad, the commercial where it looks like a game and they’ve got the communicator, they’ve got the warrior, right?

Derrick:

Oh, I’ve seen that, yeah.

Tim:

The fighter. They’ve got the replenisher and the chef slices something like the Kung Fu Panda game and then I mean it’s pretty cool but they’ve definitely changed their approach of recruiting to a younger generation.

Derrick:

Yeah, I’m sure the military [crosstalk 00:38:49] sweeping water in a rainstorm.

Josh:

Oh yeah.

Derrick:

Or sweeping water on a ship out in the middle of the ocean.

Chris:

Did you have to do that?

Derrick:

Oh yeah.

Chris:

Wow.

Derrick:

Oh yeah, I did two deployments on a ship and then one actually where I was boots on ground in Baghdad and so I go to see the silliness of a shipboard deployment and then what it’s like being attached to detainee operations at a joint taskforce.

Tim:

Hmm.

Chris:

Wow.

Tim:

Interesting. And in the military, did you have any exposure to cannabis in the military?

Derrick:

No, just keeping up with the news and everything. Like seeing the news in 2012 with Colorado legalizing and being like oh, great, I can do nothing about that.

Chris:

I can watch, yeah. The military kind of frowns on cannabis, right?

Josh:

Yeah, I was actually in … I was stationed in Colorado Springs right around the time when that all went legalized, so …

Chris:

But you can’t partake in Colorado Springs even though it’s legal?

Josh:

No, no sir.

Chris:

Because you’re federal.

Josh:

Correct, yeah.

Tim:

Actively engaged in like … Receiving funds from the federal government other than being a veteran. If you’re a veteran, you can’t lose your benefits for using state-regulated medical cannabis but if you’re active duty, work for the FBI, work for anybody, you can’t touch it. In fact, I mean we have friends in the state department that they don’t even follow us on Facebook or … And they’re close friends. They just can’t have that sort of stuff coming up on their feed and I mean she doesn’t even email me.

Chris:

Even hemp and CBD, you can’t even … Could you use hemp or CBD products in the military?

Josh:

Nope.

Derrick:

No.

Chris:

Today, could they?

Josh:

Anything cannabis.

Derrick:

No, yeah.

Chris:

Like even just go to the gas station and get some CBD tincture, they can’t even use that?

Derrick:

Absolutely not.

Josh:

No.

Tim:

Now, I’ve had guys that work up on base and are even scared of a zero THC/CBD product just because they’re … And they just don’t want to take any chances.

Derrick:

Yeah, yeah, there’s zero tolerance.

Tim:

Now, so even last night, though, I was reading some studies on PTSD and cannabis treatment and the Canadian government almost takes the opposite approach. So the only people-

Chris:

Here, get high.

Derrick:

They’re so lucky.

Tim:

… in Canada that get free federally covered cannabis as medicine, that’s covered under their national healthcare, are military veterans. Move up there and if you’re a veteran of the Canadian military, you’re covered. You can go into the dispensary and they will buy your cannabis for you.

Josh:

Yeah, and they can grow beards, which is awesome.

Tim:

And they can grow beards.

Derrick:

That’s great.

Tim:

Yeah, it’s just such a different approach.

Josh:

Yeah.

Tim:

And right across the border, right?

Derrick:

Yeah, and active duty, as long as it’s not directly interfering with your work, you can consume all the alcohol you want.

Chris:

Oh, really. That’ll change here in the US. I think maybe the US will eventually get a little more onboard with their military.

Josh:

Yeah, I would think so.

Chris:

10 years, 20 years maybe.

Josh:

I don’t know, however long it takes. I mean there’re the alternatives. This is the thing that I was researching, is really the alternatives between cannabis and other medications and that’s really where it comes down to is the companies that make benzos and opioids, they don’t want us to stop prescribing those and so they don’t want to do any research on comparative … Does CBD or does hemp flower, smoking hemp flower help you reduce other prescription use? That’s what we need to start. That’s the research that’s not been done yet.

Derrick:

I think they’ve done it in Colorado, several studies, that have shown a year by year decrease in prescription opioid use since legalization.

Josh:

Yup, mm-hmm (affirmative). There is. There is definitely an association with or a correlation with decreased prescribing of opioids and benzos too.

Tim:

So, you have the balm, so you have some type of products … some products are processed, not a lot of products?

Derrick:

We took just a shot with our balm, just let’s make a tiny little batch and see what happens and so the feedback has been great. So the next step is we get our processing license. We start adding more lights and we just keep going.

Tim:

Okay, so you’ve got to grow more, you’ve got to process. So you got to move to the next step?

Derrick:

Yup. Yeah, proof of concept is kind of what we were going for instead of just rushing into it and having all kinds of product or debt that we can’t fulfill. So we have our proof of concept down, we have kind of our flagship strain, so we’re kind of ready to rock and roll.

Chris:

Is it just the two of you? Do you have like employees, like other people trimming or anything or just the two of you?

Josh:

Nope, it’s just the two of us running both companies.

Chris:

Okay, that’s cool and is the marketplace growing?

Josh:

Yes. The marketplace for high quality hemp flower. Now, there’s a lot of average and low quality flower out there since everyone jumped on it, grew 10, 20, 50, 100 acres and now they’re sitting on it and they don’t know what to do with it and so finding the high quality flower is a challenge but I mean we’re taking it on.

Tim:

How do you guys market?

Josh:

That’s tricky.

Derrick:

Like this, word of mouth. Yeah, just getting our name out there.

Josh:

We have no SEO, so we can’t do any kind of online advertising. We have to be careful with any kind of ads that we do put out. We were lucky enough to get a full page ad in the Salt Baked City Magazine, their first one.

Tim:

That’s right, yeah.

Derrick:

Page six or so.

Tim:

That’s right, you guys were right by us.

Josh:

Yup.

Derrick:

Yes, sir.

Josh:

And yeah, there’s a promo code in there if people want to get their hands on it and check that out. We want people to go out and get it.

Chris:

Okay.

Tim:

Yeah.

Josh:

And check it out.

Chris:

So, use that promo code there in Salt Baked City.

Derrick:

15% off little nugget in there for anyone that wants to go and look.

Tim:

Yeah, and you can pick up those magazines at any of the pharmacies. You can pick them up at any of my locations, my clinic locations, Utah Therapeutic Health Center. Yeah, they’re free. It’s a free magazine. Salt Baked City, our ad, Utah in the Weeds, is in there. You guys have stuff in there. They focused on a lot of really cool-

Chris:

Beautiful, beautiful publication.

Tim:

Yeah, it’s a beautiful layout. And it describes a lot of the process of the over the course of the year and the people who are really involved in that.

Josh:

Yeah, I’m looking forward to more.

Derrick:

Yeah, the guy who published it is an incredible guy.

Chris:

Oh, yeah.

Derrick:

Yeah, he really wants to progress the community and we’re happy to be at his side, so it’s really great.

Chris:

Oh cool. Sure. What would you tell somebody … Like let’s say I’ve asked this of a few people that come on the podcast, somebody’s questioning whether they should try some sort of cannabis for something they’re dealing with and they’re a little skeptical of trying it. Is there any advice or suggestions or anything you would tell them if they’re listening right now?

Josh:

I mean if it’s THC-

Chris:

They’re maybe a little worried, I don’t know. Yeah, let’s say THC.

Josh:

THC, well, even CBD, we’re going to be offering like a flower sample pack. So you can get just small amounts of each and try it out-

Chris:

Try it out, yeah.

Josh:

Try one and give yourself ample time to feel the effects and for the effects to dissipate before you try something else. Don’t just try one strain, try another strain, try another strain because then it kind of jumbles all together and you won’t get an accurate representation of how that strain is helping you or if it’s not. But start with a small amount and then when you find something that works, use it and don’t chase a cannabinoid. Don’t try and say, I just need the highest THC, I need the highest CBD, I need the highest of this one terpene because you don’t know what strain is going to work and what strain isn’t until you try it.

Chris:

Exactly.

Tim:

This is just good advice like for people who don’t want to get high but they want to feel what cannabis feels like and they want to use it as medicine potentially, hemp flower is a good place to start.

Josh:

Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:

The get into the experience, get a little dry herb vaporizer, grind some up, vaporize some hemp flower, see what it feels like. It’s legal, completely legal, you don’t have to have a medical card for it and it is a safe product to try.

Derrick:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, and the standards that we go by, I mean, legally, what’s required is for us to verify some kind of state compliance and that’s it and we don’t even have to post it. So, we take it upon ourselves to post all of our state compliance tests from all the farms that we work with and then post all of the full panel tests that we get so that a customer can see exactly where it was grown, what’s in it, whether it’s terpenes, a cannabinoid profile, the heavy metals, the pesticides, the insecticides, the moisture content, everything. They can see everything and they know exactly where it’s sourced. So we’re trying to provide a consistent, reliable marketplace for customers to buy from.

Tim:

Well, that’s more than you can say about all the vegetables that we buy.

Chris:

Give the web addresses and how people can connect with the both of you or whatnot, I guess.

Josh:

Yeah, we’re on Instagram and Facebook. Our IG is both uinta, without the H, uintacannabis and our other site is utahhempgrowers, all one word.

Chris:

And that’s on Instagram too, I think?

Josh:

That’s on Instagram. Yeah, both of those are Instagram and then we have a Utah Hemp Growers on Facebook.

Chris:

Very cool.

Tim:

Cool.

Chris:

So people, go connect, take advantage of that coupon. It’s in Salt Baked City. Try some of the hemp from your website and say, hey, you know what? I heard you on Utah in the Weeds, right?

Josh:

Oh, absolutely.

Tim:

That’s right. Yeah, cool. It was really nice to meet you guys. Thanks for coming down.

Chris:

Yeah, really great. Anything more you want to add? Anything more you want to talk about before we wrap this episode up? While the mics are still on?

Josh:

I mean we got … For Uinta Cannabis, we have some new strains in the works and we just brought on our sixth farm that we’re working with, so now we have … Let me just name off the farms here. We have our farm, Uinta Cannabis. We have Carter Kids Construction, Hemp Ventures Utah, Honeycomb Hemp, Puff Hemp and I’m missing one.

Chris:

I’ll tell you what, if you guys remember it, email us, we’ll put it in the intro to the episode.

Josh:

Beautiful, beautiful.

Chris:

So, they’ll be the first mentioned. So, when they get to the end, they’ll be like oh, you didn’t forget us.

Derrick:

Excellent, fantastic.

Josh:

Yeah, and then we’re talking with other farms and I mean if they’re growing good enough strains and it makes it through our standards, then we’ll list it. So we’re growing.

Chris:

Very cool.

Tim:

Cool.

Chris:

All right, guys.

Tim:

Congratulations, guys. Looking forward to seeing you grow.

Josh:

Lazy Roots, that’s the one.

Chris:

Lazy Roots.

Tim:

Lazy Roots.

Derrick:

Lazy Roots with their pre-rolls. They’re great.

Tim:

Cool.

Josh:

Yup, very cool.

Chris:

Well, thanks for listening to this episode. Make sure to subscribe on whatever podcast app you’re listening to this in. Connect with Uinta Cannabis, Utah Hemp Growers, utahmarijuana.org/podcast is where people can listen to the podcast. Utahmarijuana.org is where they can connect with everything else, am I right, Tim?

Tim:

Yeah, they can connect with everything else we have and all right, everybody. Stay safe out there.

By UtahMarijuana.org
Published April 2, 2021
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