Ben Kaplan: You certainly have one of the buzziest brands in cannabis. How do you folks differentiate from the other stuff on the market?
Max Zavet: We’re different. We have a unique brand that’s rooted in the legacy market and Afghani Bullrider is a very popular strain that’s been around a long time.
Lorne Greenberg: I also think what makes us different is the passionate people behind BLLRDR. Jef Tek’s mission to continue the legacy of his late wife, Michelle Rainey, one of Canada’s earliest and best- known medicinal cannabis advocates, is at the heart of the brand. Noah’s personal connection to Afghani Bullrider and how it has been a part of his journey with MS has also influenced the purpose of our company. We don’t see cannabis as a product but more as a pathway to a better quality of life.
MZ: We are also working on a farm-gate market, where we have a craft grow with direct retail that we hope to launch later this year. There’s lots of great things in the works as we are always looking to challenge ourselves to bring the best quality and variety of products to this market.
LG: It took 15 years to bring all of us and this brand together. Literally, we’ve all been bonded together by the plant. It started with Jef and Michelle’s mission to share the Afghani Bullrider strain with the world and when Noah, Max and I became involved, it wasn’t just a business opportunity. All of us are deeply invested in making our strains more accessible, and I think cannabis consumers realize that when experiencing our strains.
BK: It’s amazing what you’ve done in terms of building buzz. I don’t know any brand that’s as called out by name as the one you’ve built.
MZ: It makes me happy to hear that, it’s been quite the journey. Lorne and I have been working on this for two years. During that time, we’ve learned so much just about navigating this market, the rules and regulations. But I never lose track of how incredible it is, what we’ve done in Canada, and I think, ultimately, our success lies in respecting the product and harvesting the highest quality product while also adhering to the rules on the marketing side, and just trying to absorb as much as we can, like a sponge.
LG: We’d also be remiss not to mention all that Noah adds to the company. His knowledge of design and branding has been extremely beneficial and it’s such a collaborative effort. Of course, we would’ve loved to have been in the market sooner, but with COVID and everything happening in the world, the channels have been a little slow at times, but none of that matters now. We’re just excited to launch our product.
BK: We all know about Noah, he was our October cover of kind, plus everyone respects his music for Drake. But can you tell us a little about Jef?
LG: Jef is a master of his craft. He knows all the ins and outs of cannabis and cultivates strains in a very special way. He’s super impassioned and is an encyclopedia for cannabis, especially Afghani Bullrider. We are lucky to have a visionary like him on our team and directing the production side.
MZ: Jef and Noah are quite similar as their commitment and ethos permeates across our entire team: motivating us to always give 150%. Everyone at BLLRDR believes so much in the products, in the fact, that cannabis is able to heal people.
BK: I recently tried out a prototype of the BLLRDR x GPEN Dash vaporizer. How did that come about?
LG: G PEN is well known in the US as one of the first vaporizers and when they wanted to come into Canada, we knew we wanted to work with them. They’re unique in terms of flower vaporizers and their pod system is the best, bar none.
MZ: We like partnering with smart people doing things at the very top of their game.
LG: 40 and I have known G PEN since they started in 2012 and, in my opinion, they’re one of the best lifestyle brands in the entire cannabis category.
MZ: I also think that category is definitely growing.
BK: Now that you guys have built something special, what are the overall goals for your brand?
LG: Our goal is to make the legal market better.
BK: I love that.
LG: Based on the plans we have and entrants from the legacy market putting together micro grows, I am encouraged for what’s to come. I think we’ll see an improvement in product throughout 2021 and 2022. Business models like farm-gate will also pave the way for more sustainable, fresh product drops that the consumer wants.
MZ: For us, it’s really all about the consumer. We’re consumers ourselves and we’re always looking for the next hot strain and we want to bring all that goodness to market.
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