TOKEWELL | STACK PAPER, CATCH VAPORS
14 NOV/DEC 2016
CHARLIES CHALK DUST
WE SIT WITH THE CREATIVE GENIUSES BEHIND ONE OF THE VAPE GAME’S MOST ICONIC BRANDS
WE RIDE SHOTGUN WITH ONE OF LUXURY AUTOMOTIVE’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE, AND IT’S A WOMAN
ISSUE 14 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016
OPEN TO SUCCESS WE SESSION WITH ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BRANDS IN THE CANNABIS GAME TODAY $4.20 U.S. $5.20 CAN.
TY DOLLA $IGN WE RAP WITH TY$ ABOUT HIS CAMPAIGN AND THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION VERSUS INCARCERATION
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B A N A N A
MANGO HONEYDEW ï˜³ F R U I T N C U S T A R D TOKEWELL MAGAZINE
PREMIUM HANDCRAFTED ELIQUIDS
THE WORLDS BEST CUSTARD JUST GOT EVEN BETTER!
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ASK FOR FRUIT N CUSTARD TODAY AT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER.
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TY DOLLA $IGN
CHARLIES CHALK DUST
ARTISANAL COLLECTIVE GUN 76YOUNG
We rap with TY$ about his Campaign and the importance of education versus incarceration.
We talk with one of the tattoo industries youngest superstars and how staying focused and hungry were paramount in his success today.
From the Ohio House to Southen California, we sit with the creative geniuses behind one of the vape game’s most iconic brands.
OPEN TO SUCCESS
We session with entrepreneurs Tim Cullen and Ralph Morgan and talk about how they built one of the most successful brands in the cannabis game today.
CHEF TO DEF
We chop it up with of the culinary industries most talented chefs today and discuss the importance of breaking stereotypes and how he's changing the game one plate at a time.
We ride shotgun with one of luxury automotive’s most influential people. Meet Aimee Shackelford. DECEMBER 2016
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eflecting on 2016, we have all beared witness to what has transpired this entire year from the most polarizing election in United States history, to the historic legalization of cannabis in more states, and the industrial civil war with our own government endeavoring to shut down an industry which has liberated billions of lives from the grasp of smoking cigarettes. Amidst so much negativity we have experienced, we oftentimes forget what we are all blessed with. Things could always be much worse, and we should be grateful for every day spent on earth. The key to unity and happiness is to employ a positive mental attitude; and no matter what your hustle is, keep pushing forward and never allow negativity to derail you from your goal. Remember, choosing to be positive and having a grateful mindset is going to determine how you live your life. None of us are promised tomorrow. We need to embrace today.
â€œHere's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes...â€? - Steve Jobs #TogetherWeRise
PUBLISHED BY FR3SHLAB CREATIVE GROUP, LLC PRESIDENT, FOUNDING PARTNER RICHARD COYLE RICH@TOKEWELL.COM CO-FOUNDER SENIOR V.P., OPERATIONS CINDY GALINDO CINDY@TOKEWELL.COM DESIGN HONEST KITTY STUDIO "NO-NONSENSE DESIGN" EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RICHARD COYLE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE YVONNE MORTON YVONNE@TOKEWELL.COM CONTRIBUTING WRITERS LEILANI ANDERSON, STEFAN DIDAK, CINDY GALINDO, KEITH STROUSHEERLIE RYNGLER AND MAXIMILLIAN STERLING CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS LEAH MORIYAMA, TAADOW69K, IAN WILLIAMS, RYAN DAVIS, MO SATARZADEH, IAMTED7 AND KEVIN CRISPIN, RYAN BELLEROSE AND GABESHADDOW Tokewell Magazine is published bi-monthly by Fr3shlab Creative Group, LLC. Tokewell Magazine does not condone the illegal use or obtainment of cannabis. All content within this magazine is copyright protected and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without explicit written consent from the publisher. Tokewell Magazine is strictly for entertainment purposes only, and is not to be held liable for any misleading orinaccurate material produced herein. Â©2016 FR3SHLAB CREATIVE GROUP LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PO BOX 444, ALHAMBRA, CA 91802 AD SALES INFO@TOKEWELL.COM TOKEWELL.COM
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NOT BLOWING SMOKE WORDS BY: STEFAN DIDAK | FOUNDER OF NOTBLOWINGSMOKE.COM
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016 has been a tough year for vapers and the industry. The FDA dropped their deeming regulations on us and lawsuits got filed. Numerous bad bills in different States were successfully killed or amended but a few managed to get through, like in Indiana, and lawsuits got filed. Continued negative and misleading propaganda have been pushed through the mainstream media and into the minds of the general public. What started as public health funded smear campaigns in California has spread to other States. We said in 2015 that 2016 was going to be more intense. Today, looking at the battlefield of vapor, it is not unreasonable to say that 2017 will likely be even more intense as many States are likely to move towards taxing vapor while citing that vapor products are deemed tobacco products by the FDA. And 2016 has also been the year in which we saw and fought something new; a tax ballot measure. California faced Prop 56, a $2 per pack increase with “equivalency” tax on vapor products. They couldn’t get a 2/3rd majority for a tax bill so instead, they decided to have the voters vote on it, instead. And ballot measures are things this industry has not been well equipped (or funded) for to deal with. Over the past few months, a lot of people have asked me, let’s try things we have not
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done before. Suggestions of civil disobedience, marches, protests, and dangerous plans to introduce policies and legislation based on increased fear of continued assaults on vapor. How about we all start doing the things advocacy groups and trade organizations have been suggesting, advising, and at many times pleading, we all do and engage in? How about we all start actually doing the “old” things we know have a better chance at success? Surely they would if more of us would actually engage and act upon it. The end of the year is upon us. Let’s ensure it’s not the end of the industry. If are into new years resolutions and haven’t decided yet, because the popular resolution to quit smoking no longer applies to you, how about this; start or increase your engagement, follow up on things that need to be done in the fight, spend more time protecting your business instead of merely surviving in business. Do all the “boring” things you thought others would do for you. And we will promise to try and not make it as boring for you.
VAPE IN PEACE WORDS BY: SHEERLIE RYNGLER | CREATIVE DIRECTOR, VAPE ORGANICS
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ouldn’t it be amazing if a product that could be an important harm reduction tool in the crusade to end smoking was discovered and allocated funding for further research? In our current state, if such a product were discovered, we wouldn’t know it; the industry would be demonized, nestled into the tobacco category, associated with all of the negative health effects of the problem it was created to help solve, and slapped with higher taxes than tobacco. Yes, this is real life. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. That diamonds are born under pressure. Countless other historic and current movements have remembered such sayings when their odds didn’t look good. Changing the course of history is no easy feat, but as that other adage goes, we are never given a mission that is too big for us to handle. From the FDA’s deeming regulations to proposed bills like California’s Prop 56, it’s clear that new efforts marketed as curbing the smoking rates of Americans are
in effect maintaining the status quo for Big Tobacco. The mainstream public is repeatedly coerced into rallying behind these “anti-smoking” efforts with sensationalized campaigns about youth, not realizing that what they’re actually being asked to support is the attempted destruction of the vape industry, while Big Tobacco can essentially continue doing business as usual. The reality for vape companies? It’s dark and the pressure is on... and this is a challenge we can’t help but accept. What can we do? Educate ourselves and raise awareness. It’s of paramount importance that vapers everywhere are vocal at this time. Share personal stories about the impact of vaping on your life. Contact your representatives and explain the importance of the Omnibus bill’s provision to change the predicate date on FDA regulations— vapor products will still be subject to regulations but not to a significantly more arduous compliance process than cigarette companies. Talk to people you know about the flaws in the regulation our community faces; the issues of political
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corruption, over-regulation, rights of small business owners, lack of accountability to taxpayers and, of course, public health, are important to a wide sector of the population, far beyond the boundaries of the vape community. Our community is not alone—we just need to highlight the connections between our issue and others. Thankfully, we received a gift just in time that can magnify our awareness-raising efforts exponentially… A Billion Lives film has the power to reach an incredible amount of people with the truth, expelling the darkness by shining the light. Visit their website for information on tickets and the opportunity to organize screenings in your area! “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”- Ray Davis. Keep standing, vapers!
THE CANNABIS STATE OF THE UNION WORDS BY: KEITH STROUP | LEGAL COUNSEL & FOUNDER OF NORML
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e are approaching a tipping point in the nearly five-decade-old fight to end marijuana prohibition and legalize and regulate the responsible use of marijuana by adults in America. And it is an exciting time to be alive if one is a marijuana smoker. This November 8th a total of five states will have voter initiatives on the ballot to legalize marijuana, regardless of why one smokes. These include Maine; Massachusetts; Nevada; Arizona; and most important of all, the nation-state of California, with 12% of the nation’s population. And as I am writing this column some 6 weeks before the election, the polling results indicate we just might run the table and win all five states! That is truly amazing if one realizes that when NORML was founded in 1970, only 12% of the public supported marijuana legalization; 88% favored prohibition. They had been lied to by our government about the potential dangers from marijuana smoking and feared “reefer madness” would surely engulf the country but for the laws defining its possession and use a crime. But today those scare tactics no longer work. Younger Americans are
more familiar with the drug, and have either smoked it themselves or have a friend or family member that has smoked marijuana, and they know that it is simply no big deal – certainly far less dangerous than either alcohol or tobacco. And more and more older Americans are also jumping on the legalization bandwagon, regardless of whether or not they smoke marijuana themselves. The latest series of national polling shows between 55% and 61% of the entire adult population now favor marijuana legalization. And that is especially satisfying when one realizes that only about 15% of the country are current users (roughly 44% have tried marijuana at some point in their lives). The majority of the country now understand that prohibition causes far more harm than the use of the marijuana itself, and they favor a regulated system with age and quality controls that assure the marijuana is safe (free of dangerous pesticides and molds and accurately labeled as to the strength). Yet while we continue to gain support among the American public, elected officials are slow to change, and all too many lack the political courage to publicly challenge the wisdom of
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prohibition. And the arrests continue. The latest marijuana arrest data recently released by the FBI show that 643,122 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges in 2015, with 89% of those arrests for marijuana possession only, not for cultivation or trafficking. While that number remains shockingly high, it represents a significant decline from the nearly 800,000 arrests that occurred in 2007, when prohibition was at its peak. And it represents an enormous number of Americans who have had their lives and careers disrupted, and sometimes destroyed, for no good reason. But we are finally winning this long struggle for personal freedom, and with each new state that adopts legalization, those arrest numbers further decline. If we win all five legalization proposals on the ballot this November, the percentage of Americans living under full marijuana legalization will increase from 5% to nearly 25%. We clearly still have a lot of work to do before marijuana smokers are treated fairly in this country, but the trend is all in our direction, and the pace of reform appears to be accelerating. As I said when I began, it’s a great time to be alive if one is a marijuana smoker!
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Rastaclat THE CLOTH OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Rastaclat is a symbol of righteousness, doing good for yourself and others. The belief is that positive actions can change lives, inspire confidence, and unite us as human beings. Being one of the most highly sought after fashion accessories today, the message is clear. Rastaclat has even done collabs with former Tokewell feature and skateboard legend Christian Hosoi. Some people wear their heart on their sleeve, now you can rock it on your wrist. So, if you're about that life, and employing a positive mental attitude, look no further than Rastaclat. www.rastaclat.com | #SEEKTHEPOSITIVE
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NEW PRODUCTS DECEMBER 2016
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CONSCIOUS PARTY DRYHERB VAPORIZER
Seven-time Grammy winner, author, philanthropist, and reggae icon Ziggy Marley released his first cookbook titled Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made with Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen through Akashic Books. Inspired by the Jamaican meals Ziggy enjoyed while growing up - with an updated healthy spin - the cookbook features a variety of contributions from family members, including Ziggyâ€™s wife Orly, sister Karen and daughter Judah.
Tokewell feature Ziggy Marley in a collaborative effort with O.Pen vape has launched his Conscious Party Dry Herb Vaporizer. This technological masterpiece was designed to deliver a mindful and lifted experience. In Ziggyâ€™s true philanthropic nature, a portion of the proceeds from both pens will go to U.R.G.E (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), Ziggy's nonprofit organization that focuses on uplifting children's lives through education around the world.
available at bookstores worldwide
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NEW PRODUCTS DECEMBER 2016
Beatnik Alterna Elixir Distribution Co. Announces Beatnik™ - a new line of herb infused vaporization liquids that showcase their newest breakthrough proprietary blend - Alterna™ - an Herbal Nicotine Alternative (HNA).
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We formulated an herbal alternative to nicotine that helps offset these effects. Alterna™ provides a boost of energy plus support for mood, appetite and detox. Beatnik™ is the first brand of it’s kind. In a world dominated by nicotine replacements instead of nicotine alternatives, Elixir aims to provide an ingredient option for existing juice makers who want to deliver something beyond nicotine and avoid the cost and hassle of selling new tobacco products. Elixir factored research that shows nicotine cravings are strongest in the morning so they blended Yerba Mate and Green Tea to provide a gentle but invigorating lift. The blend also infuses calming Passion Flower since the number one trigger for nicotine relapse is stress. Burdock - a known holistic appetite suppressant that also cleans the blood and organs – is then infused. To round out the blend; the team added St. John’s Wort – an herbal extract known to support improved mood. After all, the most reported nicotine withdrawal symptom is depression. Since fruit flavors are hugely popular they created Strawberry Rhubard as an artisanal fruit blend. We all love dessert, so they highlighted the fact that Alterna™ has a pleasant, sweet flavor profile and infused it with Custard and English Toffee. Strawberry Rhubarb and English Toffee Custard - the future never tasted so good! Visit www.elixir-vape.com to see all the other exciting products they offer!
NEW PRODUCTS TOKEWELL MAGAZINE
- Sour Nectar - Southern Brew - Hawaiian Sun - Peaches Nâ€™ Cream - BlueBerry Shine -
ThE PROOF IS IN THE BOTTLE
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Quality over quantity. Every single time. crowandchemist.com TOKEWELL MAGAZINE
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Quality over quantity. Every single time. erosvapory.com DECEMBER 2016
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the wax poetic USING WORDS TO GIVE BACK IS ALWAYS IN STYLE WOR D S BY: R IC H AR D COY L E SNAPS BY: LEAH M OR IYA MA
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We sit down and have a joint session with Ty Dolla $ign, better known by his moniker TY$, to talk about being the current torch bearer for South Central LA, what the biggest differences between 90’s hip-hop and today's bangers are, and how a DM on Twitter from Wiz Khalifa helped him jumpstart his career.
o become a product of your environment is almost unavoidable. To become the face of your environment, however, is another story altogether.
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Lofty for sure, it’s the mentality behind Ty Dolla Sign that has catapulted the South Central rapper/crooner into the spotlight as hip-hop's current torchbearer. Ty Dolla $ign, or TY$ as he is more widely known, is an amalgam of rhythmic talent and social commentary, representing the hip-hop generation and translating the virtues of the culture to millennials and the mainstream in one fell swoop. Equal parts urban poet and risqué persona, it is creation and commentary that propels his messages across the musical genres of hip-hop and R&B into a new arche-
type: turnt-up club bangers. TY$ is a master at translating booming speakers into canvases and painting portraits of lavishness and sexually-charged lyricism, knowing exactly what his ever expanding audience is looking for. “The big difference is that shit’s dumbed down more...and (the music is) R&B’d the fuck out. It’s completely different, but...it's all good, it's just growth and evolution.” says the Campaign crooner. On paper, the man is doing just that - the Grammy® award-nominated artist has
quickly become one of the hip-hop's most sought-after collaborators, with hip-hop royalty contributing to his highly acclaimed production and writing prowess. With the likes of Chris Brown, Kanye West, Fifth Harmony, Rihanna, Trey Songz, Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg just to name a few that have collaborated with him, it’s his “Beach House” mixtape & EP series that has garnered him further attention, prompting Rolling Stone to call Ty one of the “10 New Artists You Need To Know back in 2014”. In reality, however, Ty is the polar opposite of his projected brash
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“I LEARNED TO PLAY TONS OF INSTRUMENTS. I CAN PLAY BASS, DRUMS, KEYBOARDS, PIANO, GUITAR… IT WAS LIKE HAVING A CHEAT CODE FOR ME" DECEMBER 2016
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Greatness occurs when your children love you, when your critics respect you, and when you have piece of mind. - Quincy Jones
and salacious lifestyle, the epitome of the old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. In fact Ty, not TY$, is a polite and down-toearth young man that you’re more likely to catch sporting a pair of Vans and jamming to Bad Brains; than rocking some chic fashion label while popping bottles of Ace of Spades Champagne. Aside from his music career, Ty finds the importance of paying it forward and giving back to the community. He takes great pride in where he comes from, and is grateful for having grown up there. “It was amazing. It’s my favorite place on earth, and I've been everywhere.” With his involvement in the ‘Schools not Prisons’ program, he aims to help bring awareness to communities about the issues in spending on prisons versus edu-
cation, and hopes to educate his incarcerated brethren about alternative living. “My brother is in prison and I found out that a gang of states wastes way more money on fucking prisons rather than people's education, and that pisses me off. Some of my friends and I started a tour, where we’re able to talk to the people in prisons and encourage them to get out and do the right thing.” Having said that, we spend the day with the game’s hottest commodity and talk about his motivation behind the Dolla Day concert and what his life's cheat codes are. Your father was in the band LakeSide known for the hit song "Fantastic Voy-
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age", what was it like growing up in a musical home? Growing up in a musical home meant I learned to play tons of instruments. I can play bass, drums, keyboards, piano, guitarâ€Ś it was like a cheat code for me. I learned so much about music that I feel like I have an up on other cats around here, you know?
TY playing the keys is just one of the array of talents in his repertoire
Who are some of the artists that inspired you along the way? And who would you collaborate with, anyone dead or alive? Bob Marley is the one, dead or alive. And as for influences, damn, where do I start? Ron Isley, R Kelly, Dr. Dre, J-Dilla, Erick Sermon, Tupac, Lauryn Hill, Bad Brains; I could go on for hours, bro. Shit, I'll just leave it
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that for now. There's way too many. You have an extremely eclectic taste in music. Do they influence your process? I love all different types of music. Shit, you come to my dressing room, to my house, to my car, I'm always going to be playing something different. I’ll go from Gucci Mane, to old school Bad Brains to Disclosure. I'm down with whatever. I might listen to Ariana Grande’s new shit or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I'm a fan of all types of music. If I listen to one type of music, then I feel my music wouldn't be anything. For instance, a keyboard has the keys A-G, and there’s only so much you could really do if you really think about it. If you listen to other genres however, you might be inspired to arrange them differently. In fact, that's another cheat code for you. You’re a big 90’s hip-hop fan. What do you feel are the biggest differences between the hip-hop of today and that of one of the genre’s golden eras? Well, the big difference is that shit’s dumbed down more. It’s funny - a long time ago, there was this intro on a Wu-Tang album about hip-hop and how people are going to turn it into R&B and fuck up the genre, and everything he said happened! [laughs] It’s watered down and R&B’d the fuck out. It’s completely different, but I appreciate the shit that's out now. Honestly, some of its better
than the shit back then. It's all good, it’s just growth and evolution. How did the deal with Taylor Gang come about? I had met Wiz years ago through my homie at the studio. I was chillin' on Twitter one day sometime between putting our Beach House 1 and 2, and I got a DM from Wiz saying that he and the whole gang had been listening to Beach House 1 during the entire tour, and that he wanted to work together. So once he got back into town, we got in the studio and did like 11 songs in one day. I asked Wiz what he thought I should do and that's when he came at me with a cool little situation. Shout out to Wiz man for putting a boost on my career; I got much respect for him, that's for sure. How does it feel knowing your debut album Free TC was considered one of 2015's best albums? Does it add any pressure going into your sophomore album? It’s so amazing that people loved it. Campaign is the segue to the sophomore album - I'm excited. No pressure though, because I'm always ready. I’ve always got shit up my sleeve. You recently released a mixtape called Campaign. Can you tell us a little bit about it and why you chose that name?
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“I'M A FAN OF ALL TYPES OF MUSIC. IF I LISTEN TO ONE TYPE OF MUSIC, THEN I FEEL MY MUSIC WOULDN'T BE ANYTHING" Campaign was all about a song, and then the song turned into the name of a project, and then it became about the presidential campaign season. Then it all just worked itself out. Usually when I start projects, they just seem to work out. What was the motivation behind the Dolla Day concert? I wanted to show my appreciation for the people in LA. I hadn't done a show in LA since the EL Rey back in 2014, which is like 800 capacity at the most. Our show at the Palladium, which has a capacity of 4,000, sold out in like 5 minutes. It felt good to come back to the city and get so much love.
I brought some of my favorite artists out, and it was just beautiful. I want to make this an annual thing, although I'm thinking about going from the Palladium to the Staples Center. So now that we’ve done background, let’s switch over to community and environment. What prompted your involvement in Schools Not Prisons program? My brother is in prison and I found out that a gang of states wastes way more money on fucking prisons rather than people's education, and that pisses me off. Some of my friends and I started a tour, where we’re able to talk to the people in prisons and encourage them to get out and do the right
West Coastin': TY posted up by his 64 Impala
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thing. It just feels good to do the right thing and give back to the community. And speaking of environment, what are your thoughts on our current political environment regarding the legalization of cannabis in California and other states this November? Cannabis should be legalized everywhere. I have a lot of friends that can’t smoke it, so I don’t think it’s for everyone, but the people that do want or need it, should be able to get it without
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any legal repercussions. So, yes on 64! What are your favorite cannabis strains and why? Anything OG really. Dolla $ign, Larry, Irene, Luigi... Anything that comes from Berner - I have been getting into his Cookies brand lately, and of course, KK! Do you prefer to roll, dab or vape? Roll all day, although I was vaping in the studio just the other day. Vaping is cool, dabbing is cool, but rolling is my all-time favorite. What's TY$ doing five years from now? Selling out stadiums, killing it and bringing out new artists on his label and being amazing! [laughs] As for Ty, being the best dad ever and all around good guy.
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s e i l r Cha lk Cha t s u D
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ROCK BOTTOM CAN BE THE BEST PLACE TO START. WHEN YOUâ€™RE DOWN, THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP.
WOR D S BY: R IC H AR D C OY L E SNAPS BY: TAAD OW6 9K | RYAN B EL L E ROS E
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e sit with the crew of Charlie’s Chalk and talk about how these Ohio locals came to California to renew their lease on life, paying it forward, and how they dominated the vape industry along the way.
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You might be familiar with the "Cleveland Curse". If you aren't, case, here are the CliffsNotes: Cleveland’s has three major sports teams, and they’ve all have had to endure a professional sports championship drought spanning from 1964 to 2016. In fact, the wildly popular feel-good motion picture Major League, starring a then still sober Charlie Sheen, was made to shine awareness on a hapless, lackluster group of misfits (the Cleveland Indians) who hustled and grinded their way to the World Series against all odds. Today, history has been rewritten more times than we can count. You might have heard of arguably one of this generation's greatest NBA players, one who goes by the moniker King James (or LeBron for short). In 2016, LeBron James, #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers, broke the curse by bringing back an NBA title to the emotionally drained Cleveland fans. In addition to that, the UFC’s newest Heavyweight Champion is none other than Euclid native Stipe Miocic, who also brought home the gold in 2016. To top it off, the formerly ridiculed Cleveland Indians hope to complete the hat trick, having brought to life a World Series berth in the hopes winning a championship they haven't been able to bring home since 1948. As far as the Browns go, they’re still reeling from Johnny Manziel and now RGIII. Sorry Cleveland, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Having said that, meet these Ohio fellas who have also found a way to dominate their respective industry -- Charlie's Chalk. While the parallels drawn are primarily derived from the commonality of hailing from the same state, the blue collar underdog mindset is as true to their hearts as it is in the athletes’ that represent them. There are several reasons why people leave home - some leave for opportunity, some to start anew, and some people just need to get
away from their environment, or risk becoming a product of it. Brandon Stump traded his life in Ohio for one in California to get away from a negative situation back at his home field, decision that literally became the best decision of his life. Brandon came to California to rehabilitate himself, and after seeing the positive results yielded by that decision, he made his stay permanent. Working various corporate jobs, Brandon saw the opportunity in a new burgeoning industry and just like #23, he immediately went to work and actively recruited his friends back home on the other side of
" COLLECTIVELY, WE'RE ALL PRETTY GRATEFUL FOR WHAT WE HAVE GOING ON HERE. THIS JUST DOESN'T FEEL REAL, HONESTLY. IT’S AWESOME." - BRANDON
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the country to assemble his squad. During his pitches, he shared his vision and offered them a golden opportunity in the form of a concept - starting a vape company. While the parallels end there between Brandon and LeBron, the narrative is still the same - they both wanted to bring home a championship with the people closest to them. Meet Ohio’s newest dream team - Charlie’s Chalk. “We're not really a company, we're really just a bunch of friends. Ryan and I are brothers, Conner and I were friends and roommates, and Pat and I grew up in the same town and have known each other
for 10 years. We've only had one interview out of all our employees, and it was for the receptionist,” says Brandon when asked about his formula for success and longevity. As a testament to Brandon’s pitching acumen and vision, his younger brother Ryan Stump (current COO) was the first to come onboard, followed by Conner Raisin (current SVP) and later Patrick Thomas (current Director of Marketing and chairman of the California SmokeFree Organization). Today, Charlie’s Chalk is one of the most successful companies in a heavily scrutinized industry, constantly facing opposition and debilitating regulations brought to you by none other than our fed-
Work hard in silence, let success be your noise.
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eral government. However, despite the litany of unfair regulations and the potential for an industry-ending outcome, Charlie's Chalk continues to defy the odds and thrive in true Ohio fashion. “We understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty. So we look at it as an opportunity; it's on us as an industry to educate the public on what vaping is, that it’s not just an economic impact, but also a public health impact. Charlie’s was built around our ability to put the right people in the right place,” says Ryan Stump. With the perfect formula of loyalty, heart, and unwavering fortitude, Charlie’s Chalk continues to defiantly succeed against all odds. Let's find out how the fellas from The Ohio
House are proving all the naysayers wrong and how they plan on bringing another proverbial championship back home. Let’s start from the beginning. How did Charlie’s Chalk start? R: We were sitting in our old office in Costa Mesa with some of our old buddies, who were trying to find flavors that they could vape all day. They were sick of vaping 10 mils at a time and thought, “Why don't we make our own flavors?” Brandon started sourcing flavors from different places and began compiling flavors with five all day vapes in mind. They came up with the original recipes and we started passing them out through the local vape community, and we
"WE'RE NOT REALLY A COMPANY, WE'RE REALLY JUST A BUNCH OF FRIENDS." - BRANDON
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Teamwork makes the dreamwork
were getting great feedback, so we thought “Shit, we should start selling this!”[Laughs] C: Yeah, I came back from the gym and Brandon’s sitting in the kitchen making juice and said, “We're starting a vape company.” I didn't see that coming for sure. [laughs] B: I went into a vape store without a product, website, Instagram, nothing, and I sold them 200 bottles of juice and thought, “This is going to be a really fun industry.” We started from there and it just took off. I figured if we could create flavors that you could vape all day, we could potentially do very well. I was going to the local vape store down in Newport, where everything looked alright,
smelled good and tasted fine, but by the afternoon, I was smoking Newports again. I wanted to create flavors that had longevity. I vaped Peanut Butter and Jesus and quit smoking in six months. I was living with Conner and Ryan, my brother and business partner, and I walked into Ryan’s office and said, “I'm starting a vape company, do you want in?” He said sure, so I asked Conner, “Hey you wanna leave Verizon and start Charlie’s?” The only response he had was “What?!” C: Actually, what he said was, “You're going to quit your job, you’re going to come work for me. You're not going to make any money, but eventually you're going to make lots of money.” [laughs]
B: Specifically, I said, “You would make x amount of dollars 3 months in, and in 6 months you're going be making a shitload of money.”
.Welcome to Charlies place
what the fuck he was talking about. Fast forward 6 months, and here I am, working at his office.
C: Well, I hated my job anyway so I quit, and 6 months later, Brandon wrote me a check for exactly what he said.
RB: I was working in the beauty industry as a consultant at the time, and then Brandon hits me up, gives me a tour of this building, and says, “Here's your office!” [laughs]
P: Brandon came to New York City (where I was living at the time) and showed me a picture of this bottle. He’s like “Yeah, I ordered a couple thousand of these, and I'm going to start this vape company.” I said, “Electronic cigarettes?” I had no idea
How long did it take for you to develop the brand? R: It was an extremely smooth transition. What would have taken months to do, Ryan’s proactivity was instrumental in the brand. We initially had amber glass bottles
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and decided to go with the black and white bottles. It so happened that Ryan was already working on the black and white bottles before we even made the decision to go black and white. B: What he’s trying to tell you is we created the brand overnight [laughs] What would you say has been the formula of your success? B: We're not really a company, we're really just a bunch of friends. Ryan and I are brothers, Conner and I were friends and roommates, and Pat and I grew up in the
same town and have known each other for 10 years. We've only had one interview out of all our employees, and it was for the receptionist. RB: Also, the name. When Brandon first came to me with the name, I hated it. [laughs] ‘Charlie’ had a character versus any other crappy regular brand (name). Once we built the brand around the Charlie's persona, it was easy. When we would go to events, it’s like, “Let's go to Charlie's house!” Basically what ‘Charlie’s’ is, is a personification of the ‘if you can think of it, we can do it’ attitude we carry. We're a
Stay focused. Stay humble. Alwys hustle.
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very creative bunch of people. It’s a great and positive environment. What does it feel like to have your whole crew here from back home working collectively to build this empire? B: Collectively, we're all pretty grateful for what we have going on here. It’s a trip when we travel all over the world, doing these trade shows and things. I've worked corporate jobs before; this just doesn't feel real, honestly. It’s awesome. With so much uncertainty in the vape industry post-August 8th, where do you see the vape industry headed? B: We have an FDA specialists working for us, so I am fully confident that we will be selling Charlie’s to the vape market for the next 20 years.
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P: When we looked at the industry, we felt there were no organizations that represented our interests, and so we became one of the founding members of the California Smoke-Free Organization. I sit as the vice
chairman of the board; we oversee the work with our legislators to ensure that the language that goes into these bills is fair. Regulation is okay!, as long as it’s done reasonably. We had Congressman Rohrabacher tour our facility, and he introduced us to Andy Harris, who sits on this subcommittee for the Cole-Bishop amendment, a piece of legislation that's really important to the vape industry. The Cole-Bishop amendment has language that says, up until August 8th, anything that is sold on the market can continue to be sold without going through the FDA process. If that doesn't happen, we will have to go through every single thing we make as certified FDA compliant which is very costly and would kill a huge percentage of the industry. Part of what the California Smoke-Free Organization does is to ensure that this industry continues to be viable and thrive. We support small business. Look at our employees - we go all over America and the world to build companies. R: We look at it as an opportunity; it's on us as an industry to educate the public on what vaping is, that it’s not just an economic impact,
Founders and brothers, Ryan and Brandon Stump.
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copyright infringement and stealing of intellectual property? Do these optics hurt the industry from in the views of public perception? P: We just have to try to represent the brand the best way we know how. Like how Brandon and Ryan structured the company - from the branding that Ryan Bellerose has created to all the messaging we do; we try to take the high road on a lot of that stuff and try to lead by example. At the end of the day, the companies that don't represent themselves will go away.
.If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life
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but also a public health impact. Charlie’s was built around our ability to put the right people in the right place, and that's what we are spearheading. When it comes to FDA TPD regulations, we have the right people in place to not only to make it through the application process, but also to educate people on how valuable this is, and not to just us at Charlie’s, but to everyone around the world. P: The company got started to help people to quit smoking, but in the current climate, we can't say it helps you quit smoking. As a trade organization, the California Smoke-Free Organization can ask, “Do you want to quit smoking?”, which is what this is all about. But as a private company, we have to offer our products and stay away from stating what this company is really all about. C: The future of this industry is continuing to convert smokers, even if it’s slowed down for a bit the last couple years. A lot of companies, including us, have fallen into this niche market, making a lot of money and having a lot of success, but we need to continue to convert more smokers if we are to stay successful, and public perception is what will drive it. What are your thoughts on certain companies out there that don’t have the branding acumen and structure like
R: We put on a unified front in this industry. Obviously, we're all for competition, but we need to unify; we need to educate the general public. That's why we open our doors to congressmen, so we can show them and be as transparent as possible. Not only have we gotten tons of people off of cigarettes, but there's a huge economic impact. We need to talk about it and educate the government, all the people that are trying to regulate us. We're all for regulation, we just want it to be reasonable. We need to let them know how their regulation is going to affect us. C: Mostly we see value in marketing regulation, like the stuff that appeals to kids. You can't blame people for coming into an industry and trying to make a quick buck and marketing products in a cheap childish way when it's selling - they just want to make money. There’s a way to regulate that, and it will be a good thing. Switching gears, what are your thoughts on cannabis legalization for the state of California? B: I've always been pro-legalization. C: Seems like it’s worked well in other states. I grew up in northern California, so as far as I'm concerned, weed has been legal my whole life; it's done pretty well in Colorado and Washington. It’s a good idea, and it’ll be even better for the economy. It’s an economy boost for those that started businesses in it. And as for legal problems with weed? Any type of legal problems people are having due to weed, shouldn’t be happening.
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LEADERS BY EXAMPLE LEADING BY EXAMPLE, WHILE DARING TO BE GREAT WOR D S BY: LEILAN I AN D ERS ON SNAPS BY: RYAN DAV IS | IAN WIL L IA MS
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"WE CAN SHOW PEOPLE HOW BUSINESS CAN BE DONE PROPERLY, WHICH WE HAVE, AND THAT'S SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF."
Colorado Harvest Company's South Broadway Cannabis Center, opened in 2009 as one of Denver's first dispensaries
Puzzles are creative games. They test our genius and ingenuity, forcing us to put together the pieces in a logical way. In order for them to fit, for the puzzle to be solved, the pieces must form to each other, filling the nooks and crannies in a correct and symbiotic solution that completes the puzzle. Meet Tim Cullen and Ralph Morgan, two friends from entirely different industries coming together to solve the puzzle that is the cannabis industry. The only difference - this is no game.
t's no secret - the United States is facing a bit of a circus as far as politics go this year. Every piece of the 2016 political puzzle has been clashing against each other, rather than trying to fit and work together to create solutions. Political sh*t show aside, we've got some exciting things on the ballot this year, including five states that are stepping up to the plate and asking their citizens to decide whether or not to legalize the most talked about plant of the year, marijuana. Some are skeptical, but
these days it seems all across the political spectrum, more and more people are becoming not only aware of the benefits of legalizing marijuana, but actively supporting it, whether they themselves engage in its use or not. Why is this, one may ask? Perhaps it is due to states like Colorado, who are engaging in what can only be described as a social and capitalistic experiment. Colorado has been at the front of the medical and recreational marijuana game for a long time now, with the state approaching seventeen
be subpar products drag the industry two steps back. Industry giants such as Tim Cullen and Ralph Morgan know this, and in order to prevent that, they are taking the medical and recreational marijuana world by storm, staying ahead of any potential obstacles they may face in this quick paced and ever changing industry. Like two pieces of a puzzle, the men have formed a partnership that now encompasses one of the largest national companies for cannabis wellness products. Their dispensary, Colorado Harvest Company, just celebrated its seventh anniversary on October 1st, its success matched only by their other brands, such as Organa Labs and O.penVAPE. And with ten different brick and mortar operations in nine different states and fourteen (14!) PhDs in their entire network, the two eagerly anticipate celebrating full legalization in at least some of those states come this November.
years for medical legalization, and coming up on three years for recreational. One thing that sets the state apart from others is the coming together of the marijuana industry to show the rest of the country the way to run the controversial legalized system in a way that best suits the people. The state has put into place measures and regulations that protect and inform the consumer regarding additives and recommended intake - that's a higher standard than the FDA regulations for the vegetables at your local grocer. Who should the marijuana community thank for keeping such high standards for an ever expanding and still young and easily manipulated market? The industry leaders, of course. Without them, the marijuana industry community could very easily allow its would
The two attribute their success to having planned their partnership right from the beginning, using their individual skills making up for whatever the other lacks. With Ralph's business savvy and Tim's botany and biology background, the two hatched a plan, one that combined their strengths to eliminate their weakness. "The nature of this industry is so dynamic, and its forced a lot of people in the space to come together in these shotgun business relationships. People that just want to grow, people that just want to have an interface with patients, people who just want to be on the retail side of it, and many of these just don't work out," Ralph says. "I feel proud of our intentional partnership; it's given us a great success story." And indeed it is. While Tim manages all the retail and grows, Ralph works at O.PenVAPE and manages R&D, two perfectly fitting puzzle pieces. "We're a fast growing company, even when compared to our peers, and its largely in part of that partnership; being able to share a smaller piece of a larger pie," according to Ralph. "This partnership has definitely served us very well so far." Starting in 2009 and running their own medical dispensaries, Tim and Ralph came to know each other as peers within the
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"COLORADO HAS SHOWN WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT IT CAN BE LEGALIZED, REGULATED, AND KEPT OUT OF THE HANDS OF MINORS, ALL WITHIN A LEGAL, DECRIMINALIZED SYSTEM."
The Growing Hope Foundation honors Ralph Morgan, CEO of O.penVAPE, for his leadership and philanthropy
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industry space. With nearly 500 retail stores, no licensing, and no marijuana enforcement division, Colorado was in what could be called the Wild West of recreational marijuana legalization within the state. Foreseeing a hailstorm of rules and regulations about to rain down on their industry, the men came together and over a series of meetings decided to collaborate rather than compete. Ralph, an entrepreneurially driven man with an appreciation and background in healthcare and medical equipment, had a thriving business at the heart of Denver's Green Mile on Broadway. Tim, a former high school biology teacher with a green thumb, had a talent for producing consistent quality plants for his own shop. Together, the men combined their work and doubled their business in size. From there, the two saw a huge demand in
the market for more sophisticated products and healthier smoking alternatives. From there, Organa Labs was born, a vapor infused company that is thriving today. The snowball of success only continues to grow from there, with the opening of O.penVAPE. So what else could these two very different but ultimately complementary and amazing puzzle pieces be doing? As if being industry leaders wasn't enough, Tim and Ralph are also philanthropists, with roots running deep within their community. They are founding benefactors of the Denver Levitt Pavilion, a non-profit that seeks to provide free art to the local communities. Working with the city of Denver, the men were amongst the first to help the city realize that even the cannabis community looks to give back. "We were
Colorado Harvest Company's newest cannabis center in Aurora, Colorado
medical marijuana kept popping up and I was absolutely intrigued - I didn't have a profound personal story or a loved one who'd had success with it; it wasnâ€™t something I was familiar with, but I decided to learn about it and through due diligence of course I learned that it was amazing. It looked like it was gonna be a big piece of history and I didn't want to miss out on that, so my wife and I jumped on board with it pretty quickly with a dispensary back in 2009.
"THIS GIVES US AN INTERESTING PLACE TO HAVE THAT DISCUSSION WITH THE CITY AS WELL AS MAKE A REAL CONTRIBUTION THAT IS MEANINGFUL." #14 P 60 Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest Company, and a member of the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture's Private Advisory Committee
looking to be involved in some way that benefited the community that had been so good to us, and the Pavilion answered all those questions for us, " Tim tells us. "They provide fifty free concerts a year as well as pay and support the artists. This gives us an interesting place to have that discussion with the city as well as make a real contribution that is meaningful." With medical dispensaries, lab testing facilities, grow operations, and now charitable contributions, there's nothing these guys won't do. Today, we sit down with the two to get a more personal look at the men behind the brands. What got you started in this industry? Ralph: I was interested in doing something with healthcare, but wanted the opportunity to do something on the entrepreneurial side as well. I got into medical device sales, and it was fascinating - the perfect blend of healthcare and business. But eventually, I did get burnt out with that - it felt more like a business that was related to healthcare. In 2009,
Tim: My story is a little different. My undergrad was in biology, but I didn't really get involved with marijuana until my father was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, although I didn't dig too much deeper until I was diagnosed with it too. He had a card and we chatted about it; it seemed to be helping with his flare-ups. Slowly, the science side of it all began to intrigue me. Everything about growing these plants, from the different nutrient blends and soil substrates to environmental and pest control, was fascinating, so I pushed some boxes aside in my basement and talked to my dad about getting my card so that I could grow plants. I realized later on that in Colorado you could combine medical cards together with other people and grow more plants, which was great. I had no intention of getting where we are today at the time - I just had this cool little laboratory where I could experiment, but all I was really doing was playing around with these plants. After a number of years, I got pretty good at it, so good that I convinced myself to quit teaching, lease a warehouse, and start going into this as a full time profession [which in hindsight took a crazy amount of confidence given the experience I had! (laughs)] Did you know seven years ago where you'd be today? (Both laugh) T: No way. We don't even know where we'll be three months from now. It all moves so fast. I can't tell you where we'll be in another seven years either, but if it's anything like our track record, it'll be oppressive (laughs) There are cities and municipalities that will open for licensing, there are some who have it on the ballot to pull back from it. It's a very dynamic market and very difficult
to predict, although there has been a lot of growth very quickly as of late. Some of your brands are based on cannabis oil and vapor products. Do you believe that's where the future of cannabis consumption is headed? R: I would say that it's a huge part of where it's headed, although I'd really say the future for cannabis lies in oil, which is really just a different, more sophisticated form of ingestion. I say sophisticated in that way that it's a better way to consume the raw material - it's more pure and it's easier to infuse products with, which makes it better for creating consistent, repeatable, dosable products. That's quite an important factor when you're trying to achieve a certain effect with, and cannabis really should only be ingested within reasonable amounts. Once you find that sweet spot that's really great for recreational effect or medical treatment, you're going to want to be able to repeat that. Being able to do that consistently is really quite exciting. What are your thoughts on the FDA regulations that are currently going on with the E-Cig and E-Liquids Industry right now? Do you feel threatened in any way, worried about any adverse affects on any of your current projects? R: I do think that it's ironic that we are currently in a safer position because we're cannabis, of all things, as opposed to nicotine based products. (laughs) We see a little bit of it in some other countries too, like Canada they're very opposed to vaping nicotine but totally open to cannabis, which is fantastic. But yes, the threat is always there. It's quite scary in fact - the uncertainty of our industry's future is something that'll keep you up at night, but at this point we're used to it. Every day, there's a new challenge, a new issue, and I think that's what makes the difference in the entrepreneurs in the cannabis space. People driven by profit margins are not gonna cut it. You're part activist, you feel that this is a responsibility because there's this whole civil rights' movement that you're part of - that's what helps you get through the day, even with all the challenges that continue to rise in the industry.
There must be an easier way to make a living, why is this way so important? R: There are so many better, easier ways to make money, but this is so rewarding, because everything we do matters. It's something we've put into our core values, it goes on our business card and into the wallet of every employee we have. It's even plastered all over our walls. We really believe it - it's something that everyone in the industry should be proud of. It isn't just an American industry, it's a civil rights' movement, and the timing is just right for it. People can easily find profound success stories behind it, as well as all its other great attributes and how much less harmful it was than we thought. What has it been like watching the industry grow? T: It's amazing to watch this evolution of peers in the cannabis space rise to the occasion and meet consumer demands. This is a new product, and consumers today want to know more than ever what it is that they're putting into their bodies. Marijuana, of course, is still federally a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it's got no medical benefits as well as high potential towards abuse and addiction, and yet there are two other widely available products [tobacco and alcohol] that would never make it into today's market if they underwent the scrutiny that marijuana has. Those must truly be the Schedule 1 drugs, yet no one will bat an eye if you walk into a liquor store with an infant in your arms. Every marijuana container sold is in child resistant containers, they are packaged specifically in a way that's not attractive to children, and on every jar that gets sold, everything that's ever been watered into or sprayed on that plant is on there because the consumers want to and deserve to know what they're ingesting. We need to continue proving to people that this is why cannabis is being allowed to move into an adult use market. What does the industry need to do to continue its success? R: We need to invest in ourselves as an industry as well as each other. There really are no competitors in this space, at least not in the traditional sense. We're all just fellow peers
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trying to help move the industry forward. It's a huge market that's growing so quickly, and there's so much potential that it doesn't matter that there are 62 different cartridge producers in Colorado, what matters is that they're all doing what they're doing the right way. We need to set the bar high; we need to anticipate problems and engage in safe practices like responsible extraction techniques and packaging and consumer friendly labeling, and I'm super proud of the industry for doing just that. We see example after example of the industry coming up to the plate and tackling really tough issues, like taxation. When that issue came up in the state, all the industry groups came together and agreed that we couldn't just cancel each others' voices out - we needed to come together and support it because that would be the industry's lifeline. We'd break it down differently; "Let's not talk taxation, let's talk about how the money needs to be spent, let's talk about how much to spend on building schools, how much to fund education and research, etc." And it was successful - our dollars were spent as they were designated. We had a hand in something very controversial - what industry votes to tax itself to that level? Any other thoughts on how Colorado has handled decriminalization? T: The system Colorado has set up is fantastic, because it can be replicated by another state. Everything from the licensing to the zoning rules and how product is tracked and transferred and how taxes are collected and paid can be replicated elsewhere. I
think Colorado has shown without a doubt that it can be legalized, regulated, and kept out of the hands of minors, all within a legal, decriminalized system. Colorado has had legalized medical marijuana for nearly seventeen years, and it's given the state somewhat of a stepping stone to figure out the lay of the land, what programs needed to be in place, how to regulate it, and how to experiment with the system while still staying within the federal government's rules. Of course there's been bumps along the road, things that needed to be tweaked, but an infrastructure was set in place to make those big changes and decisions on the fly, like when we relabeled edibles with more consumer friendly labels. With November 8th fast approaching, eyes have been on Colorado's legalized marijuana system more than ever. Any thoughts as to what we should expect in the near future for cannabis? T: It's not just our neighboring states watching us, the rest of the world has been too. People worldwide are coming to Colorado to see if it's possible to take what we have and bring it back home. I think we're not only going to start seeing states legalizing soon, but we'll start seeing other countries as well. There's talks of Mexico legalizing, and parts of Europe are interested in opening up discussions on marijuana. Regardless of what happens in November, I think Colorado, with its deeply entrenched recreational and medical market, has proven that legalization is here to stay.
"THERE ARE SO MANY BETTER, EASIER WAYS TO MAKE MONEY, BUT THIS IS SO REWARDING, BECAUSE EVERYTHING WE DO MATTERS."
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girl powered MEET THE WOMAN WHOSE PASSION FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED THE SOCIAL MEDIA GAME AS WE KNOW IT WOR D S BY: LEILANI AN D ERS ON SNAPS BY: TAAD OW6 9 K
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ith FuelRun in its fourth year and SocialBolt only getting bigger, it seems that the sky's the limit for Aimee. And as if this self-made woman didn't already do it all, she even manages to play the role of single mom. Aimee is always on the move, sometimes working multiple shows in a day, but she always makes time for her family. "Family is really important to me. I'm a single mom, and my dad and son live with me. My dad helps me do everything and he fully supports all I do. If I don't have to work at night, then we all eat dinner together. I make sure we go out to dinner as a family once a month, and if I get any vacation time, I usually go to the mountains or something with my family." When asked about the little getaways we all occasionally
need, she credits exercise and fitness to keeping her sanity. "That's my 'me' time. I don't have a perfect balance of everything, but I try and do my best. I'm not skilled at balancing my time, so I don't have three hours to go to the spa - in that time I could be making money instead. But I can go for a quick jog just about anywhere, even if Iâ€™m working." So what's in the future for Aimee Shackleford? She says she'll never move away from home, but she does hope to expand her business. "We are gonna expand the whole concept into other cities, hopefully in the next couple years," she says, with the company's eyes on LA, Las Vegas, and Miami. She's also hoping to establish a few more regularly scheduled auto shows throughout
Rallying the troops with automotive heavyweights Aimee and Raw Mean
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The iconic Municipal Warehouse No1. at the Port of Los Angeles
the year, as well as grow goldRush Rally and become involved in more charity work, her most recent one being LA Animal Rescue. "Honestly, charity is important," she tells us. "When you're successful, you've gotta pay your dues, and not enough people get involved." As for SocialBolt? "I'm really happy right now with the way it is. I might add a couple more accounts, but I don't really want to change it. I could, but I'm comfortable right now." For a woman already at the top of her game, we definitely think that's reasonable.
and giving them extra income, and finally starting to make my own money, just for me? It's a lot more work, and I don't sleep much (like four hours a night!), but I can't stop because I'm addicted to my work. That's what happens when you love what you do. Sometimes I do have to remind myself that this is better than a cubicle job. Like working multiple shows or going to a dinner meeting at some fancy restaurant or on a yacht. Like heaven forbid, you know? It's better than sitting behind a desk. Honestly, I love it. It's definitely my drug. (laughs)
Why did you want to start working for yourself? That feeling, man. That really, really great feeling - seeing my name on (my work), seeing it do so well, employing my friends
Why the automotive industry? I've always had a passion for cars. My family built race cars, we always talked about cars, we were always into cars, but I never did anything with it. It's a lot like my second
"I DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE MONEY PUSHING PAPER WHEN THERE WERE PEOPLE OUT THERE MAKING MONEY ON WHATEVER THEIR PASSION WAS."
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hobby, which is weightlifting. Both are a challenge, especially because they're both one of those niche things where chicks don't really do it. I'm in the car world where it's only like 3% women, and I'm in the weight room where there's almost never any other chicks. Has it been difficult being a woman in a male-dominated field? Are people surprised to find that you're a legit petrolhead? Always. They always assume that what they see about me online is just a faรงade, because that's what so many people do. So many people online are fake, and when they see that I'm truly obsessed with cars and that I'm open to every car, not just the exotics, they're very surprised. Especially
"IT'S A LOT MORE WORK...BUT I CAN'T STOP BECAUSE I'M ADDICTED TO MY WORK. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO."
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Hers, not his. Aimee's scorching Audi R8
when I was younger, in my 20s? Everyone thought I was a gold digger, like "Oh, look at her with that blonde hair and blue eyes, hanging around rich guys, looking for one to take care of her." Once you hit your thirties, it's not so bad, but it was always so hard to fight the stereotype. And more so, I understand why people think that, but once they get to know me, once they realize that I'm real, everythingâ€™s fine. How did FuelRun come about? FuelRun was started because there was another well known car rally that only allowed Italian cars to join their drive up to Monterey. There were a few of us who had non-Italian cars, including a Bugatti, a RollsRoyce, and an Aston Martin, and we were basically told we couldn't come because we weren't driving Italian cars. So we started our own group of cars, saying any exotics or luxury vehicles could join, which I manage. What keeps you motivated? I only wanted 20 cars that first year, and we ended up with 30 cars for our drive from
Malibu to Monterey. We did it just for fun that first year, and now three years later, we drive with 100 cars along PCH. I had two Koenigseggs , an Agera R and a CCX, join us this year. Having two cars worth a couple mill each drive up with you is pretty cool. As for Exotics on Cannery Row, what do you enjoy most about it? These days, thousands of people come up to Monterey for Car Week. We had no idea that Exotics on Cannery Row could be so successful! Seeing all the families, all the kids, is probably the best part for me. Giving this experience to those who'd never normally be exposed to these car shows is definitely the coolest part. How does social media affect businesses? Social media plays the most important role in marketing right now, and I think it's both a good and bad thing. It's great for business when you do it right, but the bad thing about social media now, especially Instagram, is that you can buy likes and followers. I hate that; the key is to grow
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'organically', and I wish more people would grow their businesses that way. My business is not paid; it's all organic growth. When you get people who get big organically, the fake ones step their game up even more, hurting businesses. People shouldn't be wasting their money paying other people to make them popular. Focus on your target audience and post cool shit.
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Running the show at the Sunken City in San Pedro
You've had a few different cars like you have an R8 right now. If you had a 5 car garage, any cars of your choice, what would we find parked in there? That's such a tough question! I love the R8, but the first car would definitely an M4. I really miss my M4 , probably the best car I've ever owned! (laughs) I'd also have an old school car, maybe an old Volkswagen Beetle, because that's what I grew up around. I'd probably have a Murcielago. I like the Aventador, but the Murcie is definitely moreâ€ŚLambo. If I could have anything, I'd also have a 300 SL Gullwing. Probably a LaFerrari, because they're really just mechanically amazing cars. And to round it out, I'd get a jeep. I want to go offroading, which is a lifestyle I'd like to get into. So after meeting people from all these different walks of life, is there a commonality besides the cars that people share? Food, seriously food. At goldRush Rally, we have to incorporate all this different stuff, and I'd definitely say food plays a really big part. Food and cars, there's really nothing that quite goes beyond that. It's definitely a commonality with everybody. Having been around all types of entrepreneurs, and cannabis being on the forefront of the political landscape, what are your thoughts on the legalization of cannabis? Honestly, I have no problem with legalizing it, no issue with it at all. As much as I like to drink, there are more problems with alcohol than there are with weed. Just look at places like Denver - it'll bring tons of business and I definitely think it'll help benefit local economies..
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YOUNG GUN STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, NOW WE HERE WOR D S BY: M AXI MIL L IA N S TERL ING SNAPS BY: TA A DOW 69 K
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oday, millennials live in on-demand society and expect instantaneous results. From downloaded music, to what's trending, social media has shaped the way we live and get information. We sit with young and decorated tattoo artist Alec Rodriguez and talk about how he earned this life the old-fashioned way, and the work he put into it to achieve success in the tattoo game.
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Being young and hungry, are the biggest motivators when it comes to career choices. Today's on-demand culture of technology allows a whole planet to become much smaller in terms of reach and communication. For instance, social media giants like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have catapulted many careers such as Justin Bieber to name one. Having said that, we also live in a day and age where artistic references and client reach are on a global scale at the press of a button. We have information at the flick of a wrist, and it has made life easier and more efficient for billions of people. On the flipside, it has also cultivated a generation that demand things instantaneously without putting in the time and effort. Unfortunately, that is not how the tattoo industry works. The tattoo game is a culmination of talent and the sweat equity you’ve put into it. It's akin to somebody who goes to culinary school and expects to be a Michelin-starred chef once they graduate. It just doesn't happen. Most notable tattoo artists have historical value through experience of what they’ve been through, coupled with the innate talent of artistic ability. Having said that, up-and-coming star Alec Rodriguez is proof positive of a young artist whose been in the game for a little under 5 years and is killing it like no other. Far from a rookie, Alec has put in the work and is now enjoying the fruits of his labor. “It was really hard at first. I was working full-time, going to school full-time and on top of that, I was apprenticing full-time. I basically had only a few hours of sleep every day.”, says the tattoo games rising star. Blessed with an opportunity to apprentice under acclaimed artist and
Tokewell feature; Steve Soto, Alec was given the proper education and was exposed to all the nuances the tattoo industry demands that you can't learn in school or through YouTube tutorials. After a little over 9 months of being under Steve Soto’s tutelage, Alec quickly downloaded Steve Soto's database of knowledge and his career skyrocketed, and as a result, he is one of the most sought-after tattooists in the game today. “I had other clients that were getting tattooed by some really amazing artists that I admire and respect and they wanted me to tattoo them. That was a huge compliment.”, says Alec when he knew he had made it. Aside from all the drama and controversy that accompanies any young superstar early in their careers (again, refer to the Justin Bieber comment), Alec has maintained his focus and remained grounded in his career. He also realizes that he's got a long way to go as well, and is a true student of the game. It is that ethos that has garnered him multiple awards for his artwork worldwide and validates his hustle and work ethic. We sit with this millennial tattoo artist and talk about how staying humble and focused has kept him on track, and why today's young artists keep him on top of his game. Meet Alec Rodrguez. How’d you get started? What got me started me was after high school, I didn't know what the fuck to do. I was heavy into graffiti then so I was going to college and taking bullshit classes. My dad, he’s a real tattoo collector. He’s blasted. He took me to a shop one time and made me even not want to tattoo. I was thinking, "that looks hard as fuck." The first time I was exposed to tattoos, I didn't even want to pursue it. Over some time, I had some homies that were doing it out of their garage and I thought, "well, if they could do it, so could I." Other than graf, did you come from an art background? As far back as I could remember, I just liked to draw. Even if it was just tracing shit or drawing cartoon characters. In 3rd grade, I won this contest for the Anaheim Angels for
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"I HAD OTHER CLIENTS THAT WERE GETTING TATTOOED BY SOME REALLY AMAZING ARTISTS THAT I ADMIRE AND RESPECT AND THEY WANTED ME TO TATTOO THEM. THAT WAS A HUGE COMPLIMENT."
this scenic art. I painted it on a tile and they placed it on a wall with a bunch of other kids work. How did you link up with Steve Soto? I was going to school full time working at Stater Brothers and it turned out that Steve worked there also back in the day as well. Fortunately, one of the guys I went to high school with was getting tattooed by Steve and said he could introduce me to him since I was tattooing at the time. He showed me his work and I was like, "Oh shit! Heâ€™s badass!" So, I went with him and met Steve and his people at the shop and all was good. I asked him for an apprenticeship and he already had one at the time. So, a year later they finally hit me up and asked me if I still wanted it or not. Alec's impeccable depth and realism artistry
So, the stars aligned and that chance meeting took place. When did you start your apprenticeship?
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Prior to that, I was applying to all different types of no-name shops locally and got turned down by all of them. The funny part was, I drove over to his shop, I had all my artwork with me and I got so nervous, I pulled over and almost went home to save the humiliation. I finally got there and his guy introduced me to Steve and he offered me the apprenticeship right there. How long did you apprentice before you got deep into tattooing? I apprenticed for about 9 months before I actually started tattooing people. Steve saw my improvements and told me to call
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Every rose, has its thorn
my friends, build up my clientele and it's been amazing ever since. He's been a real mentor to me. What would you say your style of tattooing is? My specialty black and gray realism. I don't really mess with color too often. It's not that I can't do it, I just don't like it. It’s messy. When was the moment you knew you had something? What really triggered that aside from my clients paying good money to get work done by me was when I had other clients that were getting tattooed by some really amazing artists that I admire and respect and they wanted me to tattoo them. That was a huge compliment.
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Being so young and in the game professionally for 5 years, did you think you'd be where you're at today? It's definitely where I want to be. But I didn't think it would be this soon. It’s definitely paid off. 5 years into the game and multiple awards later, how does the recognition feel? The awards and recognition feel good, but I feel I still have a long way to go. There're so many people that are young like me and coming up fast so I gotta stay on top of my game. It’s been amazing and very rewarding. What's Alec Rodriguez doing 5 years from now? Maybe I'll have my own private studio and some merch like clothing or drawing books. I definitely have some stuff in the works. What are your thoughts on cannabis? I'm not a big weed smoker now, but I used to love smoking weed back in the day. It just isn't for me anymore. I feel what I do for a living, I need to always be on point. To me, weed isn't a big deal. If you said some hard shit like Heroin, I'd be like, "I don't know about that man".
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"THE AWARDS AND RECOGNITION FEEL GOOD, BUT I FEEL I STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO. THERE'RE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE YOUNG LIKE ME AND COMING UP FAST SO I GOTTA STAY ON TOP OF MY GAME."
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What are your thoughts on the looming legalization of cannabis? I don't think there are any negatives to it. I feel like itâ€™s been legal in California this whole time anyway. When it becomes legal, it's going to be a great thing. The government can tax it and it's good for the economy. Didn't Colorado make like $53 million in the first month or some shit? They need that money and so do we.
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CHEF TO DEF MEET THE GRANDMASTER BEHIND THE CULINARY COUNTERCULTURE MOVEMENT WOR D S BY: LEILAN I AN D ERS ON SNAPS BY: TAAD OW6 9K
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Tattoos. Once synonymous with gangsters and prison inmates, tattoos are now not only considered an art form, but a part of mainstream society, at least in the general American public. As far as the workplace goes, most professions are still asking their staff to cover up. Little by little, however, employers are beginning to not only accept but truly recognize that the ink on one’s body has nothing to do with the employee’s ability to excel at his or her work. Tattoos are becoming more and more accepted within all sorts of fields, especially in the kitchen. Tatted chefs are being recognized for their skills rather than judged for the ink on their skin, proving that there is more than meets the eye to these inked culinary masters, and Grandmaster Chef Jojo is one of them. Jojo is the embodiment of a self taught countercultural professional, getting the chance to live the dream.
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lasted nearly from head to toe, Jojo is a sight to behold: a permanent art collection that he started at the age of 16 covers him from the neck down, while hip hop and skate influences his threads and his cooking style. One thing’s for sure: Jojo looks like anything but your typical white coat chef - he is setting the new standard, declaring to the culinary world that you can love whatever you want and excel at your passions. Not only is he well educated, Jojo is a self-taught chef who continues to better himself by learning from his influences whatever way he can, whether it be collaborating with other chefs, coming up with new dishes for his clients, or studying videos online. He is a master of drawing inspiration from certain locales to design custom healthy living courses for his clients, incorporating fresh ingredients into each meal plan. Jojo also insists on staying fit and active, which he believes is equally important as eating right. "If you're going to learn from me, I want you to incorporate everything you've seen. I can't teach you to eat healthy if I'm an overweight chef." Everything that Jojo does to better himself and his cooking skills has definitely pushed his reputation forward. When you've been asked to be on Cutthroat Kitchen, you know you're doing something right. What makes Jojo so in demand is his ability to take anything in the kitchen and make a meal out of it. "I've never liked wasting food because someone else could use it." It's this uncanny ability that has also made him the personal chef to people like Atlanta’s own Rich Homie Quan, whom Jojo has developed custom curated dishes by using
ingredients native to the celebrity's home state. "We use some of my homemade spreads as well as things like sprouts, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, bacon, all these awesome goodies they like to use in Atlanta, and we created the Quan Dog - we make sure that we've always got some on hand whenever he's around. He always on the go, and he can't eat healthy all the time, but at least I can try my best to help him integrate a healthy diet into his lifestyle." Things can only go up from here for this in-demand chef, we can't wait to see what he's up to next (we're looking at you, Chopped!)! Family is important to Jojo, and it has an intricate connection to his passion for food. Another way he tries to up his culinary game is at home with his three kids. His kids are his partners, his taste testers, and they love it. “My kids are always in the kitchen with me, dancing to all the music and having fun.” Jojo was raised in a household where everyone came together for dinner at night. “It was the pause in a long work day where everyone could relax and be a family for a bit.” At a young age, Jojo easily recognized what that did for people - it made people happy, even if it was only for that hour before going right back to handling business. Just a few short years ago, he’d hit a low point and didn’t know where to turn. He decided that the only way to get out of his rut would be to work on himself, so he started with eating better and incorporating fitness into his daily routines. “I can’t change other people, but I can change myself,” he says. “Focusing on number one
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WHEN YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF...YOU’LL START TO REALIZE YOU’RE NEVER GIVEN ANYTHING YOU CAN’T HANDLE... WHEN YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE WAY YOU LOOK, YOUR COOKING IS BETTER, YOUR FOOD COMES OUT BETTER.
"MY EVERYDAY GOAL IN LIFE IS TO SEE PEOPLE SMILE, ESPECIALLY WITH FOOD. IT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER."
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Chef Jojo doing work
(myself) in turn benefited my kids, and slowly started benefiting everything else in my life.” When asked to elaborate: “If number one ain’t right, nothing else is gonna work around you. How you feel about yourself influences your attitude, and your attitude influences how you interact with the world and what you’ll get back from it. When you feel better about yourself, and realize that things could always be worse, you’ll start to be able to brush things off and realize you’re never given anything you can’t handle.” It’s this perseverant attitude that got him where he is today. When asked where he gets his winning nature from, he attributes much of it to his support systems, such as his close friends and neighbors, and especially Bonnie Pull-
iam and her husband. Remembering where he comes from and all who've supported him along the way is what keeps him humble. "No matter how many rappers I cook for, how much money people throw at me, I'm still grounded. I'll never forget where I come from." He takes parenting classes on the side, helping his fellow parents. Jojo is one of the most down to earth guys you'll ever meet - if you ever need anything, he'll do everything within his power to help you. Having struggled while growing up, Jojo keeps his positive outlook on life by reminding himself that his situation could always be worse, and that there are others less fortunate than he. And as if that wasn't enough, Jojo is looking to provide for his community in even more extraordinary ways, making plans
The devils in the details
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for a culinary camp for underprivileged children. With the support of his sponsors and companies like City Fog, Maddtatterz, Vestal Watches, Rastaclat, Nora Knives, and Instabank, there's nothing this down to earth, family oriented cook can't do. Well, maybe one thing, but we wonâ€™t hold that one against him. Read on to find out what! What made you want to become a chef, and who were some of your culinary influences? My everyday goal in life is to see people smile, especially with food. It brings people together. Growing up, at least in our culture, food was always bringing people together, and that's what I love doing. There's this guy known as PaulieCooks on Instagram that I really admire. I also really look up to Michael
Voltaggio from INK, as well as Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium. I grew up watching Emeril Lagasse all the time, and of course, I've always looked up to Gordon Ramsey. In fact, I started cooking off of Ramsey's recipes when I was young, because he's so old school rustic and straightforward. I like to cook food that's good for the soul. I loved Emeril's energy and Ramsey's attitude, and I like to mix that with all these crazy things that these new school chefs are doing, things that I could never dream of happening.
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Do you hope to pass this culinary tradition on to your children? Being in the kitchen shaped everything I do from the way I dress to how I keep my things - my house, my room, my cars, everything. You maintain a certain standard in cooking, so I try to help my kids with that, whether they end up becoming chefs in the future or not. I want to teach them that we were given a planet that we once filled our bellies on naturally, and we can do it now; they don't have to eat the boxed lunches that they pump to us in TV commercials. The biggest thing I want them to take away from everything I teach them is to always go for whatever it is they love. It doesn't matter what they look like, because if they work hard enough, someone will notice, and if they fail once, they need to keep trying because they will get better each time. Being able to get back up again, being able to respond positively to the world around you those are the things that define us as people. What gave you the idea for a non-profit children's culinary camp? I had a father figure type person in my life about two and a half years ago, and he was a big influence. He helped a lot of kids through positivity, I want to make sure that I continue that little legacy. You got kids these days who want to be everything they want to be, but they have to be everything - that struggle is what makes the man. My family came to the states with a 9th-grade education and hustled all my life, putting me through a private school and all that. There are kids out there in much worse situations than I ever had, and they deserve so much
more. I want to show these kids there is a positive outlet, and especially through food. Teach them how to cook from the ground up, how to present themselves, how to dress, how to do their hair, how to keep everything organized - these skills will help them throughout the rest of their lives. What are your plans over the next few years? I want to start my own YouTube cooking show, something along the lines of a culinary GGN. And of course, I'm hoping that we'll have the non-profit up and running by then. I'm also looking to get a kitchen endorsed, perhaps by Chevy or Budweiser. I'd also like to work with Adidas on getting a line of non-slip shoes out, something that makes you both look and feel good. When you feel good about the way you look, your cooking is better, your food comes out better, hands down. Our chefs truly don't have to be in these uptight white collar jackets and ugly shoes - have you ever worked in a kitchen? Our chefs should have something with some breathability and support as well as safety. You do all these things, and you're so talented. Is there anything you're not good at? Oh, dessert, dude! I don't f*ck with dessert. (laughs) I know a couple things, but baking just isn't my forte. And that's okay, I still study it and stuff. Like there was this one night where Bonnie and I were up til 3 am making pies, and I just could not get it right. I was just like, â€œThis is so stupid. This is why people have other people do this. This is crazy!â€? (laughs) Overall, it was still a fun experience, and I did finally figure out how to make a pie that night. And now shifting gears, we know you vape. What are your thoughts on the FDA's involvement with saying the vape industry is actually Big Tobacco using an alternate way to advertise to younger generations rather than a tool aimed to lower lung cancer risks? I think the FDA is just trying to make money off of it. It's just another business, and if they aren't making money off of it, they want to
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"THERE ARE KIDS OUT THERE IN MUCH WORSE SITUATIONS THAN I EVER HAD, AND THEY DESERVE SO MUCH MORE. I WANT TO SHOW THESE KIDS THERE IS A POSITIVE OUTLET, AND ESPECIALLY THROUGH FOOD." DECEMBER 2016
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be. I actually used to be a big time smoker, like two packs a day. I grew up around smoking, and my whole family smokes hookah. It's been years now, and I do think vaping is much better, but man that was a tough transition. My friends introduced me to vaping, and now I've quit smoking altogether. I definitely think the FDA has some ulterior motives. And what about the imminent cannabis legalization movement? I'm totally for it. I used to smoke weed, but not anymore. I think everything has its good and bad components; cannabis is no different. To regulate it will be kinda tough, and Colorado definitely set a standard for us, that's for sure. California is a really strict state
when it comes to taxes, so, to be honest, I'm actually quite interested to see how it pans out here. No matter what we do, it's never gonna be perfect. There's always gonna be something wrong in some form or way, but if some good comes out of it, then it'll be worth it. You hear people that grow marijuana being called 'drug dealers' rather than recognized for all the good they do, like helping and healing those in need of aid and donating to charities. If it's legalized, do people realize how many new possibilities would be open to us? I mean, myself alone, I'd love to work with some canna chefs, make some infused dishes, you know? (laughs) Or working with cancer patients on restrictive diets? That'd be an interesting thing to try working with.
Never get caught slippin', never ride dirty
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