Here’s the second part of MT writer Andrew Baker’s interview with CEO of The Colorado Cannabis Ranch, Christian Hageseth. Catch up with Part 1 here.
Andrew Baker: Actually, since you brought up the topic of growing, cultivating marijuana; I’ve read on the website that there’s going to be agricultural training and educational opportunities at the Ranch. Could you elaborate on that a little? What does that entail? I’m very intrigued.
Christian Hageseth: We want to educate people about what marijuana really is. In my humble opinion, marijuana is a lot like roses. It comes in as many colors, shapes and fragrances as roses do. I mean, you know, the beauty of a Super Lemon Haze, like when it’s in full flower and what it smells like and what it looks like, it’s just awesome. Through the tour component I want to bring the public face to face with that beauty. Really, what we’re doing here is educating. We’re educating and saying, “Hey, there’s cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Here’s what they are and how they work. The psychoactive parts of marijuana aren’t in the plant, they are on the plant. It’s contained in this sticky resin substance, in the trichomes on the female marijuana plant.”
I say all this just to kind of tell you that as we tell the story, as we give the tours, we’re going to be trying to educate people on the nuances of marijuana they weren’t aware of. So that’s the other education component.
AB: There’s that recurring theme again. I can’t say enough how awesome, noble even, it is; the public focus of your business.
One of my favorite aspects of the Ranch is the outdoor amphitheater. Like a lot of people, I’m a huge fan of music. Have any musicians or performing artists expressed any interest to you guys about, you know, performing on stage? Like at the grand opening or just in general?
CH: Yeah, we’re actively working on that. Right now, this fall we’re actually going to do about 5 or 6 shows out there probably around the end of August, into September and October. This year we’re just doing them as a kind of festival though. It’ll be a few stages on open land. But we’re doing it this fall because we have to work through a bunch of issues around parking, some logistics and traffic and whatnot. We also have to see what sort of draw we can expect.
We look at artists and put them in different categories. Like tier 1 is The Eagles, The Rolling Stones; someone that can sell out a stadium. That’s not really our deal. So we’re looking at people that draw between 3,000 and 15,000 people. We’re going to run these concerts with some different levels of artists and kind of see what the draw is like so when we build the permanent amphitheater over next winter, we’ll know how to size it. We’re really just running this temporary set up right now.
AB: Awesome, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out!
CH: Then we’ll have the real grand opening next year in the Summer of ‘17, so about a year or so. It’ll be a whole sort of grand opening with a big opening act and all that stuff.
Another long answer to your question, but yes, active negotiations are happening, but only for the temporary deal, or the soft launch we’re doing this year. We haven’t done any negotiations for next year.
AB: So would you prefer a musician, or group, that openly voice their support for marijuana?
CH: I can’t think of many musicians who haven’t voiced their support!
AB: Very true!
CH: But yeah, I don’t think we’re going to get very much religious rock out there or anything. My vision for the first opening week of music is to have the real opening night to be some local bands. These are guys that are in Denver that we’ve come up with, we’ve sponsored and these other guys that have contributed to the scene here. So I would love to have the first night be local bands.
The second night, we would do a classical music night. Third night, we would do a jazz night. Fourth night, we would have folk music.
So it would have different line ups each night but really take a week and work our way through the different genres of music. Cause I think there’s a marijuana component to all of those. Certainly when you get to rock and hip hop, rap, r&b, reggae; ya know, there’s such a clear connection to that music and marijuana. I don’t think it would be a reach to think we could get Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill and those guys.
AB: Yeah, that’s really interesting, I wasn’t expecting that one at all. I would love to see an orchestra perform at a weed friendly venue or event.
CH: It’ll be a fun opening week. You’ll kinda get everyone out there. But again, what I want to do is demystify it. I don’t want to necessarily build on the culture and traditions that got us here. I want to open it up to everybody. I want to show everybody that marijuana is a great plant.
AB: Yeah, totally. So it’s pretty obvious, especially after this call with you, that you’re truly passionate about weed. Would you mind telling me where that passion began, where it all started for you?
CH: Ya know, well, I started smoking pot in junior high. I just always enjoyed it. I’m really blessed in the sense that I’ve never been an addictive person. So for me, I can use marijuana or not. Frankly, I can function really well with it. I’ve always noticed that. So marijuana has just sort of always been a part of my life. Often through big parts of my life I’ve been a daily smoker, through other parts I didn’t touch it for a couple of years. It just depends on where you are in life, right? I always loved it and when I got into the business in 2009, that was really when my eyes opened. I talk about this in my book. I didn’t realize the options of marijuana at the time. I was, ya know, a kid from Colorado that grew up smoking pot and the pot I got was just whatever my guy had. I’d call my guy up and say, “Do you have any?” and he’d say, “Yeah” and I’d be like, “Great.” I’d go get my hundred bucks, get my quarter and I never thought to ask, “What is it?” I knew that some of it was different and better than others but I didn’t know what those differences were. So when I got in the business and sort of figured out the differences, that’s when I became a huge fan.
I was just down at the grow yesterday and we got 88 new seeds coming and man, I just get excited about that. We’ve got about 60 strains now, 10 or 12 of those are really my favorites for different reasons. And now we’ve got 88 new ones and I’m just like, what are we going to find here? I mean, more than likely 87 of those are going to be pretty middle of the road and we’re just gonna get rid of them. But we might find something in there that is just really special or unique.
Ya know, I’m like a wine or a beer guy in that sense. If you drink, you probably have your favorite wine or beer, but you always like to try something different. If you really like IPA, you go to some bar and they have a different IPA that you’ve never tried before; you might try that and see how it compares to what you like. I feel the same way about weed.
I feel really lucky to do this man. I get to work every day with a plant that I really love for personal reasons and I get to make a business out of it that pays all my bills. Now I get to enjoy this plant and enjoy this business and build a weedery. I mean, how much luckier can you get? I just feel really blessed to be able to do it every day, truly.
AB: That’s awesome that you say that man. Not to go into self-help type of talk, but gratitude is such an essential part of life. I’ve read that some of the most successful people in business all have gratitude practices. Or they simply just looked at the things in life that they were grateful for. You’re just another example of someone that has remained humble and grateful for the “little things” despite your level of success.
So, just to kind of close it up a little bit, what would you say you’re most excited for as far as the Cannabis Ranch goes?
CH: All of it really. I’m excited for a day where, ya know, Summer of ‘17 where we’re done building and the whole thing is running, everything is firing. The greenhouse is full, people are at the dispensary, the restaurant is open, it’s a sunny Colorado day and people are sitting at the rooftop bar, having a burger and a beer, and the place is just full. I look forward to just being a fly on the wall that day. To get to appreciate other people appreciating what we built. That’s what I look forward to man. That’ll be a great day.
AB: Great answer! Alright, last question. It isn’t one I planned ahead of time, I just thought of it mostly out of curiosity after something you had said. You had kind of talked about Super Lemon Haze. Personally, that is so far my all time favorite strain that I’ve tried.
CH: Yeah, it’s really great strain.
AB: I know you said that you have 10 or 12 that you would say are your favorites for various reasons. But could you pick one that sits above the rest?
CH: Oh yeah, Skunkberry. Skunkberry is a great strain man. It’s Skunk #1 crossed with Blueberry and it has a very unique smell and taste. I love the smoke man. It tastes great, it’s a great high. One of our budtenders described it one day as the after work but before dinner bud. So ya know, you get off work, but before you sit down for dinner you hit the bong with that. It’s just really great, I love it. But beyond that, we won the Cannabis Cup for the first time with Skunkberry. It’s been with us for years now and it’s a great plant to grow, it’s a good yielder and we’ve done really well with it. I love it for personal use and reasons but also for what it represent to our business. Even without the business connotation though, it’s still in my top 5 of strains of all time. Other than that, Ghost Train Haze and Louie OG are other big favorites.
So, what did you guys think? I’m excited to hear from you!