40 Under 40
For the past five years, the Marijuana Venture staff has compiled an annual list of some of the brightest young leaders and influencers in the cannabis industry. As in past years, we have narrowed the list from hundreds of worthy candidates to present 40 individuals from the vast and ever-changing business in the United States and Canada.
It is our honor to share their stories.
Company: Old Pal
Company: Old Pal
Old Pal co-founders Rusty Wilenkin and Jason Osni wanted to create “the PBR of cannabis,” a brand targeting consumers who care less about the genetics of their weed and more about the simple experience of smoking it.
“It’s something you can share with your friends and that’s really the goal of the brand: create something shareable for everyone,” says Wilenkin, the company’s CEO. “I think we’re trying to bring back this idea that it’s just cannabis.”
“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” adds Osni, the Old Pal president.
And it’s working. In February, Old Pal was the No. 1 flower brand in Nevada, with 11% of the market, and a top-three flower brand in California. The company is moving into the Washington and Michigan markets this year, as well as launching a vape portfolio in Nevada to match the California offerings.
Osni says Old Pal is something comforting and familiar, a mid-grade, mostly outdoor or greenhouse-grown product at a good price, designed for customers of all generations and tastes. An eighth retails for $15 in California, $20 in Nevada.
“We wanted to harken back to an older time; more passing-the-joint-in-a-circle-of-friends than someone smoking a pipe and staring at their cell phone by themselves,” Wilenkin says.
Osni and Wilenkin had worked together “in a past life” (Osni is a lawyer by trade and Wilenkin’s degree is in finance and accounting; they met working for Kiva Convections). Through Old Pal, they’ve created one of the first large-scale licensing models in cannabis, which means the pair own a non-plant-touching brand. Essentially, they sell packaging and distribution to farmers, so the farmers can concentrate on what they do best.
“We are a brand. That is our sole focus,” Osni says. “We have demand and what we do is allow farmers to put their cannabis in our bags, if they meet our specs, and drive their volume through our demand channels. And they pay us a licensing fee to do that.”