President & Chief Cannabis Officer
Glass House Brands
Santa Barbara, CA
I’m energized by new things. If you work in this industry, I bet you feel the same; if you don’t, you might not be in the right spot. Before co-founding Glass House Farms and the Farmacy, which became Glass House Brands in California, I was searching for the right opportunity to combine my lifelong interests in cannabis, technology and sustainability. The common thread that connects it all is that I have a lot of experience doing things that most people have no experience doing.
Building a sustainable and reputable craft cannabis brand at Glass House has been the pinnacle of my career as a serial entrepreneur. However, blazing a path has certainly come with its own set of challenges at every stage of growth.
When my co-founder, Kyle, and I first purchased our 150,000-square-foot Carpinteria greenhouse in 2015, we were met with a significant amount of resistance from regulators and some members of the community. Our team did our best to engage with residents, cultivators and Santa Barbara County to develop an ordinance that all licensed businesses had to follow. We often worked to cause change in one individual at a time, relying on our ability to communicate our purpose and vision to open their mind, and the culture of compassion that cannabis represents.
The stigma of cannabis is strong, but the positive benefits it brings are even stronger.
One of the key lessons I learned during this process was the importance of making decisions that will ultimately benefit the business community as a whole. Every company serves as an industry representative, and the only way to upend dated stigmas is to showcase our industry’s professionalism and consideration for others. If we listen first, we are more likely to be listened to ourselves.
Over the past six years, our brand mission and offerings have clearly resonated with consumers and investors alike. Last year, Glass House Farms was California’s second-best-selling flower brand, and our company went public through a special purpose acquisition company this summer. These unprecedented levels of demand provide us with the next mountain for us to summit: continuing to cultivate consistently outstanding flower at a 10x scale.
While this is a challenge that many operators now face, I see it as an opportunity to leverage my background in science and technology to develop the blueprint that will help make cannabis an industry that leads the way in sustainability. At Glass House, our cultivation practices are guided by the three P’s: good people, good product and good for the planet.
Both of our current greenhouse facilities are designed to use precision agriculture techniques, water recapture, filtration and recycling systems and integrated pest management practices, which employ biological methods of controlling insects instead of pesticides. Our carbon footprint is vanishingly small compared to other crops and other methods of cannabis cultivation as a result of both our methods and our local climate. And our new, 5.5-million-square-foot facility will be even more resource-efficient, supporting our goals of quality and consistency.
We believe it is our responsibility to challenge conventional practices to create a more sustainable future and to lead the way for others to do the same. We strive to create the best possible cannabis experiences for our consumers, with the overarching goal of demonstrating cannabis’ social and economic utility on a local, national and global stage.