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The Weedsmith Series

A Higher Purpose in the Industry: The Weedsmith with Dennis Hunter

In the cannabis industry, we are all working toward a common goal—to move the industry forward. This week on The Weedsmith, Grasslands brings to you founder of CannaCraft Dennis Hunter’s take on this sentiment, and how he wants to  the cannabis industry forward—the right way. The Weedsmith runs Wednesdays on Grasslands LinkedIn and Instagram pages.


Ricardo Baca:

You are listening to The Weedsmith, a show about modern cannabis leadership. Today I'm thankful to be sitting across from Dennis Hunter. Dennis, you talk about having a higher purpose and leading through that.
What is your higher purpose?

Dennis Hunter:

If you know much about my history,  I went to federal prison for six and a half years, so I got off and was off of probation and was going to go back into the cannabis industry  but with better direction, really thinking it through and trying to do it the proper way.
And there wasn't regulations for it, so you had to self-regulate, set rules that you think were right. And so we did that for quite awhile, and we invited the state regulators over. We showed them our manufacturing facility. There was about 52, 53 state regulators, and assembly members and staff.
About two weeks later, we got raided by the local police. They brought in a huge amount of police to raid our facility, and I was arrested at the time. And it was scary. It was like "Oh my gosh."
You know, "What just happened?" We were talking to the city, talking to everybody. We had permits, the best you could have. And I'm sitting in jail and thinking I was doing it right. They set my bail at $5 million, and I was just like, "Wow, what did I do?"
I got out, and really made a decision to just push back. I gave a speech at headquarters, and said, "Look, we aren't doing anything wrong. We're going to push back." And we didn't just push back, just protesting.  We went to the media, we told our story. We tried not to bad-mouth the cops during that time. We weren't just saying, "Oh you guys are terrible. We were doing it right." It was really like, "Hey, we gotta work together. We're the first ones through the gate during this new world of regulations, and we're trying to do it right. We have all the paperwork. We did everything we possibly could. If you come after us, everybody else is going to run for the hills and they're gonna hide. And you're gonna push everybody away." And it really worked.
And since then, that's just been our motto. We just keep pushing back. And that was my time of really making a decision, that it's bigger than even our one company or just what's going on in our world.
I think everybody was looking for someone to stand up, take that step back out, and push back, and take that chance of it not working out, and seeing the whole industry come behind you and support you, and be able to kind of push it forward.