July 17, 2023
This week on The Weedsmith, Grasslands brings to you a groundbreaking story about failure from Dennis Hunter, co-CEO and founder of CannaCraft. From being imprisoned for cannabis to helping change laws around it, Dennis Hunter never gave up. The Weedsmith runs Wednesdays on Grasslands LinkedIn and Instagram pages.
You are listening to The Weedsmith, a show about modern cannabis thought leadership. Today I'm thankful to be sitting across from Dennis Hunter.
I was wondering if you could tell us about one of your recent wins in business. Perhaps a time that could have gone either way, good or bad, but definitely ended up firmly in the “win” category.
A few years ago we got raided by local police. It could have went either way. It could have been the end of CannaCraft. I got out of jail, didn’t get charged, got our equipment back eventually.
That was a big win but what came from it, what it really did was, it empowered us as a company. They were looking at charging me with a meth manufacturing charge, because it’s manufacturing a Schedule I drug.
There’s no state law, or any city or county rules that allowed you to do that. And we had to go to Sacramento and use lobbyists there where I met with probably eight Senators and 12 Assembly members. And they’re all like, “That’s illegal?” And every one of them, they were like, “That seems like common sense, I can’t believe it's illegal.” One of them asked, “Well, these extractors, what do they look like?” “I think it would be great if we could see one and what it does.” And so we rented out the restaurant on the corner right there and got the little patio. We put the extractor there, put tables out, and all their staffers and everybody came down. And we explained how it worked.
One of the Assembly members basically had a bill and gutted it. Between us and a couple other companies, we were able to get the language into that bill to allow for cannabis law to get passed for manufacturing. This is literally less than two months after the raid.
The Assembly votes on it, the Senate votes on it and the Governor signs it. Within three months, the law is changed for manufacturing cannabis in California. It’s pretty amazing to be going through that full circle of going to prison for quite awhile – six and a half years – for growing cannabis, and then have it come around to where I’m able to help, you know, with even language in a bill and help promote the bill and have that go full circle.