Company: Ramshead Cannabis
Jorel Decker initially made a name for himself as J-Dog, the guitarist for the LA-based nu-metal band Hollywood Undead. Now he’s cultivating a following as a cannabis producer through his new company, Ramshead Cannabis.
“Ramshead is definitely not the first brand I started,” Decker says. “It’s been a long and painful road.”
Ramshead is actually the third cannabis business Decker has founded. His first cannabis brand, Blue Palms, was “destined to fail,” Decker says. But it taught him about the industry, the time investment growers need to make and how much he still needed to learn about growing. He applied those lessons to his second cannabis venture, Dove & Grenade, but, like many, was hamstrung by the excessive regulations and costs of California’s adult-use market. He ultimately decided to let the company live on as a lifestyle clothing brand and launched Ramshead Cannabis in the grower-friendly, but considerably more competitive Oklahoma market.
“We kind of took a few steps back and reworked our process,” Decker says.
A labor of love, Decker and his fellow growers at Ramshead have “basically been working for free,” for the last four years, investing their time into phenohunting and refining genetics. After three years of development, Ramshead’s Tokyo Snow strain debuted to rave reviews.
“At the time, people in Oklahoma didn’t know weed like that … it blew people away,” Decker says.
But Decker says Tokyo Snow is just the tip of the spear as the company’s genetics have only been getting better and better.
“I don’t want to brand cannabis that isn’t the best, so we kept getting set back,” Decker says. “But after years of perseverance we are finally getting to where we want to be.”
What was the most important lesson you learned after launching Dove & Grenade?
Ramshead is definitely not the first brand I started. It’s the 3rd at this point. It’s been a long and painful road. The first one was called Blue Palms, I was taking photos of the flower myself with an old Nikon digital camera. They didn’t look good, needless to say. I was growing out of a warehouse that bordered Carson, Long Beach, Compton and Lynwood. It was pretty hood and industrial down there. Growers getting robbed and hospitalized, Raids, some form of super mites were going around Long Beach grows at the time. I still drive 5-6 hours a day from the Valley when I wasn’t on tour, to be there almost every day. We were giving away free pounds to dispensaries for patience appreciation day to try and build the brand name. The place was destined to fail, I was touring a lot, writing and recording an album, my father was dying, it was far away, other partners I had were busy with their lives, and most importantly I didn’t know nearly enough about growing.
The second is Dove & Grenade which basically evolved to just a clothing brand. Being from California and the bureaucracy of legal cannabis, it was impossible to navigate through and we didn’t have millions of dollars to burn through. We tried over and over and it didn’t work every single time. Eventually I’d like to grow specific D&G cannabis strains but anyone who knows cannabis will understand the ups and downs we go through.
Fast forward to Ramshead, it’s been such a slow process and I feel like we’re years away from where I want to be. We keep investing more and more money into the building and the owners basically have been working for free for over 4 years now. People don’t understand its a plant and sh*t happens. So with that being said, if we hit a good stride and the quality is amazing but we change our fertigation system, things can fall apart for 4-6 months. I don’t want to brand cannabis that isn’t the best so we keep getting set back. But after years of perseverance we are finally getting to where we want to be.
Oklahoma is possibly the most competitive state in the country – what is Ramshead doing to stand apart?
It’s the most competitive because of the relaxed cannabis laws they implemented after legalization. Everyone came here and bought cheap land and cheap licenses. It got so saturated so fast. We kind of took a few steps back and re-worked our process. Just like everyone else, we were chasing new and popular strains and trying to get genetics that people didn’t have. We were pheno hunting seeds, trying clones from untrusted sources, it was getting draining and time consuming and expensive. We started rebuilding a lot from the ground up and dialing in the current genetics we have. So many people have Kush Mintz but we keep hearing we have the best Kush Mintz that people have smoked, ever. That goes a lot further to me then just having something “NEW.”
Tokyo Snow took three years to develop – how did you know the product was worth the time investment and what were you looking to improve during development?
At the time people in Oklahoma didn’t know weed like that. It was purple and gassy, it blew people away. It was worth going for it and having a strain that nobody else had. Fast forward now and there’s a lot of good weed in Oklahoma, new and exotic strains left and right. The breeder Chris from Compound Genetics has also come up with so many new strains since then that keep getting better and better. So Tokyo Snow is still in rotation but it’s almost the old Buick now, tried and true and great, but there’s Teslas on the market now.
What one thing would you want to change or add to the cannabis industry?
I don’t think I would currently change anything, this industry kind of regulates itself and is a living/breathing thing. If the politicians fuck it up, the black market will be right there to correct that mistake and gladly reap the rewards. I’m basically just here for the ride because I love to grow. You got two polarizing parties between the black market and the suits, who have equal say. I honestly think that’s a beautiful thing, it may be the last time in history we experience something like this. Where the originators and hustlers have their piece of the pie still before capitalism ruins it. I think the black market has just as much of a puzzle piece as the newer legal market does. Some might argue the black market still holds a bigger puzzle piece….