On this episode of the To Be Blunt Podcast, Shayda Torabi welcomes Tyler Prough, the West Coast Sales Manager for Rokin, Inc, to talk about everything vape related from Nicotine or THC vapes, to legislative laws and regulations against vaping, to the Texas smokeable ban and more!
You don’t want to miss this episode! It’s packed with juuls and golden nuggets.
[00:01 – 09:44] Introducing Tyler Prough
[09:45 – 21:41] The Start of Rokin Inc; A Family Owned and Operated Business on the Cutting Edge of the Vape Industry
[21:42 – 29:17] How We Got Into The Vape Crisis and What Got Us Out
[29:18 –44:31] Why Illegalization Incentivises the Black Market
[44:32 – 45:22] Smoke Lounges in Nevada
[50:10 – 51:55] Closing Segment
Tyler Prough is the West Coast Sales Manager for Rokin, Inc. He’s a 34 year old living in Las Vegas, NV and is a passionate cannabis enthusiast, daily dabber, wanna be pro golfer, drummer, and VGK and Steeler fan. Happily married to his beautiful wife Kristin, they recently became first time parents to their son Landyn. Tyler is a proud UNLV Rebel alum with a BS in Business Management. Tyler has been working in the NV legal cannabis industry since 2016. He’s helped co-launch a successful cannabis focused vape manufacturing company with multiple years of over 100% continued growth. He has also done sales contract work for various THC brands (Cann) and CBD products. He’s established well over 120+ accounts throughout the US with Rokin Vapes. Tyler has over 13+ years in retail general management, direct sales/account management, trade show and event sales, successful brand management and new market development management.
Connect with Tyler on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @tyler_cannabizpro
Check out https://www.rokinvapes.com/ and Rokin Vapes’ Instagram and Twitter @rokinvapes
Shayda Torabi has been called one of the most influential Women in WordPress and now she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She's currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run education first CBD wellness brand. And has formerly held marketing positions at WP Engine and WebDevStudios. Shayda is the host of a podcast for cannabis marketers called To Be Blunt, where she interviews top cannabis brands on their most successful marketing initiatives. When Shayda's not building her cannabiz in Texas, you can find her on the road exploring the best hikes and spots for vegan ice cream. Follow Shayda at @theshaydatorabi
“The vape crisis was just the convenience, the popularity of these carts overshadowed what the legal cannabis market was. And so obviously black market loves this stuff too as well. And so without the states participating or getting involved and passing legislation to enact cannabis businesses to operate within their state, you have no choice but these black market people thrive. And these guys don't care about safety.” - Tyler Prough
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Tyler Prough 0:00
Basically as we had a prototype of a cooling technology on one of our wax pans called cyclone, and that kind of was really where we started diving into the retooling of vape devices, and kind of making them more functional more to where is like we're daily cannabis users. So we want to basically have a device that we can go to depend on every day, and obviously have that great experience and be consistent with that experience every day. And so we just kind of want to meet that standard or create that kind of standard with the devices. There's definitely some existing products that were out there that we kind of we personally use ourselves or that we are stoners we smoke something and then we take a look at something go I would tweak this I would fix this I would do something around with this. So all those kind of notes that we just kind of been brainstorming personally in our heads for a long time. Just kind of now we have an opportunity to basically be able to put the ideas down on paper and then see is if we can create some life out of it.
You're listening to To be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. Were your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here's your host Shayda Torabi.
Shayda Torabi 1:32
Hey y'all Welcome back to the TV blog podcast. I'm your host Shayda Torabi, and today's topic is a juicy one. I feel like vaping has exploded, no pun intended. Because yes, unfortunately, sometimes batteries do explode. But I feel like vaping is just everywhere. Whether we're talking about nicotine vapes. We're talking about THC vapes. We're talking about different legislative laws and regulations that have been passed against vaping. It is just so fascinating to me how adopted this particular consumption method has become specifically in the cannabis industry, but also how this part of the industry is actually managed and run. And so just because personally, I consume a lot of vaping products, it's discrete, it is a concentrated product, you usually have a higher quality of vape product compared to some of the other products on the market just because of the extraction process that these products go through. But with that there's also a lot of manipulation when it comes to vaping product, that ingredients that are being cut into these vaping cartridges, just the technology itself, whether it's a bad cartridge or a bad battery, then you have kind of the legislative shitstorm that is happening, whether it's here in Texas, we're dealing with a smokeable ban. at a federal level we're dealing with the pact Act, which recently kind of established we are not able to sell vape through the USPS, which now has engulfed ups and as well as FedEx and other kind of you know, national shipping services. And just like holy shit, there's so much when it comes to vaping. So whether you actually vape yourself or you're selling vape products, or you're just trying to navigate this aspect of the industry because you're getting asked a lot of questions. Maybe you're a retailer or maybe you're considering going into the vape side of the cannabis industry. This is a really good conversation for you because one of my good Canna friends Tyler Pro, he is one of the early employees actually a broken vapes. They're a vape brand built out of Las Vegas, Nevada and marijuana is fully RAC fully medicinal and this company is still family owned and they've really grown to be one of the leading vape brands here in the United States. And I love picking Tyler's brain he is just like one of the smartest people I know when it comes to cannabis in general. But especially with vapes, every time I see him also hold disclosure, we sell a ton of broken vapes at restart CBD, which is originally how our relationship started. Tyler was our sales rep and would come down to Austin and visit us from time to time and y'all know me, I'm just super curious and love to pick people's brains. And so Tyler was that lucky subject who I was like, hey, you're in vapes. And I want to understand more about this part of the industry. So I've been very eager to get him on the podcast just to pick his brain for all of you guys to benefit from just what he is experiencing what he's learned helping grow Rogan's brand to being really national. I mean, they're like one of the leaders in terms of vape technology, they've got a lot of really cool new products that we obviously get to try and see a lot of close and personal just because we carry their products in our store. But just again, as someone who's navigating the cannabis industry, it's really exciting to see what they've been able to do and deliver not only to the consumers but really to the market in general. So again, super stoked to have Tyler on the show because we just dive into basically everything I cover, you know, vape manufacturing vape quality batteries cartridges, we talked about the pact act, we talked about the vape crisis and Tyler also in the end, so stay tuned to the end touches on kind of some of the things that are upcoming in the Nevada cannabis market and there is something really cool that Nevada is doing that just got passed that is rolling out soon, and I'm going to Las Vegas and a couple months for a few cannabis shows that are kicking off and really excited to go experiences of close and personal for myself. So let's welcome Tyler to the show and dive right in.
Tyler Prough 5:10
My name is Tyler Pro. I am actually the West Coast sales manager for broken vapes or Roku, but basically handle pretty much everything west of the Mississippi is all my account territory and everything like that. Austin lovely restart is definitely one of my favorite businesses and accounts that I deal with out of Austin, Texas. So thank you for having me. So how I got into the cannabis business, actually, the owners of rochen I actually managed a couple of their optical high end optical sunglass shops here in Nevada. And just kind of over the course of the eight years of managing those stores, Christmas parties, thanksgiving and kind of weekend events and stuff we Hey, you smoke and Oh yeah, smoke and find out that we really love to smoke. And that we have a lot of commonality on that and made just um, stoners always seem to click once you find out another stoner and you're like, Hey, we can be friends for sure. There's something about you I like and just at the time, I know that they have kind of fat burner for a couple of years they've talked and even with our other sales rep that they were friends with for a long time, there was talks of broken and creating a vape company and stuff like that, but nothing ever kind of took hold. And then until it was kind of around 2013 1415 era. That's where we saw retail brick and mortar retail just in general malls across the US just online dominance of sunglass shops and online sales and stuff like that. And just retail in general really started to kill the malls. And then obviously our stores being inside malls and stuff that really impacted us. And so we dealt with the retail ebbs and flows of selling certain retail products. So the chatter of legalization of Nevada and coming into a medical market here started to pick up in Nevada a lot more. And so we kind of basically the owners, they're all and Larry and his brother, Alex, they kind of basically put together and said, Well, hey, we're thinking about starting this bait company kind of deal, and would you be interested in it. And I was graduating college around the same time and was already manager lived in Vegas already and smoked tons of cannabis and had lots of relationships already in the backend. So connection wise, there's definitely a lot of people and it literally fell in my lap how I got into the cannabis industry. And basically we just started taking rochen from day one, and it was done. Hi, my name is Tyler, I sell rochen would you like to take a look at some of our products. And that's legitimately that's how we've done it. We've done it since like that since day one. And it's worked very well for us. But some of the cannabis aspects of getting into the Nevada markets, obviously, it was one of the first states to kind of adopt the full wreck aspect of the cannabis, I guess side of business legal market wise. So we've definitely had a whole slew of just different businesses brands and coming through this state. And honestly, timing was just right, and really beneficial to be in a first mover advantage, I guess scenario with being in a state that adopted cannabis legalization first. So being first at the table is always nice, you know, you kind of not only is your direction and your voice kind of helping but it also it steers the direction of the long run of where this cannabis industry is going to be 50 years 100 years down the road. So really cool to work with a lot of people that are in the beginning of it and seeing these people, their businesses flourish and see them take on but it's really even more cooler or interesting I think is watching these new markets adopt what some of these brands have done. And they're taking their leads of examples and they're adopting them into their states and even some of the laws that they're writing with how things are run and how things are managed and stuff so Nevada it's a great state. I love Vegas Reno too as well don't want to neglect Reno, they got great people up in Reno Tahoe is extremely beautiful. But Vegas, it's been very lucrative and very opportunity rich. So it's a great place to launch a business to come and I guess, test the waters in the cannabis business to see how it is.
Shayda Torabi 9:24
Yeah, I love it. Obviously, I'm a fan of yours because we do sell rochen at our CBD shop here in Austin. So that's kind of how our relationship started, which I do like to always highlight for my listeners where I can know the connection points. It's like you're networking, you're out there and I've learned so much from you just coming into our shop and talking to us about vapes. And that's definitely like an impetus for wanting to bring you on the podcast because I think there's so much mystery around vaping it's obviously also very popular. And so before getting into kind of vape in general, I want to get a little bit better understanding to from you. Like I remember my mom asked me this question because I told I was going to interview you for the podcast. She's like, Oh my gosh, we love Tyler like Yes we do. She's like she goes, do you remember where we first found Rogan? And I was like, No, I don't really honestly remember, but I feel like I've been using a Rogan vape for ever, like, as long as I've been vaping I feel like I've had a rochen vape in my hand. And part of is because the design, I think the little tanks are kind of the first design that I saw that was really different compared to a pen. But also I love just like the color options, just love the branding. And so I had seen you in Colorado, that was kind of my first experience with Rogan, but kind of Baccus through the journey a little bit more, you know, winded rochen found like the company, it's a family run brand, you highlighted the guys involved with their family members. And then like, what was that timeline in comparison to legalization in Nevada, also excluding you know, you don't just sell to Nevada, you sell nationally, maybe even internationally. So what was it like going to market building a vape? company? The kind of second half of that, which I'll save as a second part of the question, but just to kind of like Connect dots is most vape, for my understanding is really being not necessarily manufactured exclusively, but like the brands all come from overseas, you find very few brands actually operating in America. So that kind of bringing it full circle. Why and how did Rogen launch when they did and what was that journey? Like?
Tyler Prough 11:20
Okay, yeah, so rochen launched in 2016. That's basically officially time the year that we launched. But the concept and everything I think they've been brainstorming this for, like since 2005. So it's been quite a while that they've had like getting into the whole vape side of it, we had a couple of wax pens that we started out with and stuff. Basically, we had a prototype of a cooling technology on one of our wax pans called Cyclone. And that kind of was really where we started diving into the retooling of vape devices, and kind of making them more functionable more to where it's like we're daily cannabis users. So we want to basically have a device that we can go to depend on it every day, and obviously have that great experience would be consistent with that experience every day. And so we just kind of want to meet that standard or create that kind of standard with the devices. There's definitely some existing products that were out there that we kind of we personally use ourselves or that we were stoners, we smoke something and then we take a look at something go, I would tweak this, I would fix this, I would do something around with this. So all those kind of notes that we just kind of been brainstorming personally in our heads for a long time, just kind of now we have an opportunity to basically be able to put the ideas down on paper and then see is if we can create some life out of it. And so yeah, you're right with the manufacturing and pretty much if you're going to get slantwise into making margin store. It's it's you're making money off of this. Everything's made in San Gen. China, overseas factory, there's hundreds of factories, there's high end ones, there's very low end ones definitely obviously knowing the manufacturers and doing your research, look whose certifications are up to date manufacturer standards, or meet us manufacturing standards, all these kind of criterias suppliers that what's their connections with material sourcing and stuff like that, is that material sourcing legit, Is it safe? Does it meet safety standards and testing and all that regulations. And know that we have here in the US, obviously, for consumers to make sure everything's safe. But from our sunglass business, we had some experience with some manufacturing over in China and dealing with some of these guys. So just basically plugging away and just kind of just same reason why you say Vegas is such a great place to come to that networking, the more you network, and the more you get out and stuff, the more doors possibilities that can open up for you. And you never know where this door will lead. You don't go in and now but five years down the road, you say hey, I still kind of I'm in touch with this guy. And we still kind of have some stuff I'd like to go check out and see as if there's some that we could work out. Or maybe he can provide me a part that can be beneficial with this other manufacturer that I'm working with kind of deal. So the manufacturing, everything like that if you know, start the connections and start calling around and networking, do your homework kind of deal. Now it's it's pretty much these guys find you. They kind of they'll get your info, they'll get your contact and you'll get blown up by hundreds of factories that are trying to get your business and trying to pay check out this new product or check out this new design kind of deal. And all of this some of the elements, I guess where we kind of stand out is obviously we consume cannabis here over in China they don't. So there's a lot of these vape devices and stuff like that, like got good starts. They got good footings but then there's a lot of details and retooling the heating elements and a lot of these kinds of things to get the better vape experience that's kind of basically that's where we really shine. We can take prototypes and stuff like that and we can tell them no we want this and this and this we want you to switch out this redesign it this way we want it to work with a smaller battery, you know, all of this size for portability and function is a big thing to have portability. That's all just matters, just getting the right manufacturers and working with the right people. Oh, it's definitely say loyalty is a big thing. Because as soon as you get a hot product, there's always a slew of people just waiting to copy you and rip you off. So is having the manufacturers, the relationships with those manufacturers that basically understand that and they know is is like, no, we're not going to sell off your design. They understand branding, they understand the power behind branding, and what it can do for them carrying a quality brand name. And so is obviously finding those relationships in the manufacturing is key that I can't stress that enough. That's probably the biggest thing that you can have, at least with working with a manufacturer overseas. So
Shayda Torabi 15:49
yeah, I don't know where I watched. I mean, I consume a lot of cannabis. And I would say probably in the last like four or five years, I've been a vapor with cartridges and concentrates pretty much exclusively, I still like flour, but I like vaping it's very convenient. It's very discreet. So I understand the market for vaping. But so I was fascinated to obviously always learn more again, which is kind of like, Well, I appreciate our friendship, because you work in vaping, you understand it better than anybody I know, are getting into the manufacturing of why there's you know, certain things part of the cartridge and why certain cartridges are good versus bad. And kind of where this conversation is going reflecting on being in a retail setting. I know how finicky vaping can be I have customers who come to me and they just don't understand why their cartridge doesn't work in the battery or why the battery doesn't work, or why this certain temperature this, that and the other. And so I remember watching this documentary, and it was talking about the origin kind of the vaping device. And you kind of touched on it when you were saying China manufacturers vapes, in general for tobacco use versus the cannabis side of it. And that's kind of the differentiator where y'all come in and have this unique market, you know, value opportunity, but reflecting on China's involvement with vaping. I mean, there it and you kind of mentioned margins, is that the only reason? Or do they have? Like, why do they have a monopoly? Why are vapes all manufactured in China? And again, from my understanding, there's not a lot of Yes, I understand there's high quality manufacturers, low quality manufacturers, but really, when I observe it comes down to it, there's not a lot of variability in the cartridges, there's not a lot of variability in the batteries, maybe design wise may be tweaking here and there. But it seems like you know, there's 10 types of cards out there, there's, you know, six or seven types of battery designs, and then you kind of back it out, and they're all done in China. And so I'm talking to customers, and they're like, Well, why doesn't this work? And I have to be? Well, it's all kind of coming from the same place. So, you know, there's not a lot of diversity or variation to it. And so it's kind of like I shrug and I'm like it is what it is, but we don't know a lot about it. And so I'm just curious from your experience being in that world, like, why is vaping isolated to that part of the world? And is that good? Is that bad? Is it just kind of a necessary evil? Like what's kind of your perspective of it?
Tyler Prough 18:02
So there's definitely is one the tariffs, you know, when Trump enacted the Chinese tariffs and stuff like that, so there was basically some big chatter that was talking about is relocating moving to maybe Philippines or Taiwan, or India, even maybe Mexico, these kind of deals, obviously, you know, labor costs in these regions, and everything always seems to be a benefactor. It's why most manufacturing all your electronics and everything that are over in China, a lot of it is just because the material sourcing, it's there. So you have mold warehouses or mold manufacturers, then you have finished factories and stuff like that. And so you have people that they might not do the finished product or the end result, but they'll make all the parts and the supplies and the ROB base of that device, and then they send all the material sourcing over to another factory. And then this factory puts everything together. You know, odd one interesting thing is right now is I don't know if we might have heard, and this impacts everything. Anything that you're touching right now electronic wise, from your phones, to your vehicles to your vape batteries is chip manufacturing. There is a massive shortage right now in chip manufacturing, and it is causing major headaches with a lot of electronics manufacturers and suppliers so much. So there's one company just announced they're opening up a billion dollar chip factory just because the demand is so high that there's so much interest in saying, hey, let's get into this business. Most of these chips are made here in the US and then they ship them back over to China. So it's very interesting is certain elements of devices and stuff like that are made in certain regions that have higher costs, but then it seems to be in other regions where the finishing product and everything like that seems to be lower to make a business basically, to where you can pay everybody you gotta have margins, they provide the best margins. So that's where you go, Yeah, no, it
Shayda Torabi 19:49
makes sense. It makes sense. It's just one of those things. I remember going to CBD Expo in Miami. I think it was two years ago now and it happened to be an expo run by like former vape and Through people. So there was a heavy influence on vaping vendors at the show and you started realizing every vendor who was selling vapes was from China. And again, it's stuff like you said it, like all your electronics are all manufactured overseas. So it's not so like, I'm not saying from a negative perspective, I'm just pointing out where things are kind of bottlenecked, perhaps, or maybe derived. And I think as a consumer, you don't really realize all these different nuances like kind of same, same but different. I feel like when I go buy a cartridge at an illegal marijuana dispensary, and my cartridge doesn't properly fit into my battery, I get a little safety pin, and I will toggle the cartridge like I know to do those things. But like my customers from a hemp CBD perspective, they hear you know, smoking or vaping is the most fast acting, they feel that it's discreet, they want to try that type of product, but then they come back and they're like, oh, the cartridge didn't work. And I'm like, Well, you know, did you try toggling with a safety pin? Like, did you try a different battery? Like, did you try a preheat function? Are you using the right heat temperature, like there's just so much user error that's more inherent when it comes to vaping. And then trying to explain to people like there's not a lot of variation in it either. Like there's really only a handful of cartridge manufacturers. So depending on whose product you're buying, and what cartridge they're choosing to put their product in. Even if your product is coming from like the highest quality California extractor grown whatever, or Nevada grown, whatever the cartridge matters, and then that cartridge in the battery especially matters. So it's just a very interesting kind of like deduction when you start to peel back the curtains on vaping in general, which kind of, I guess, will dovetail into my next question. We're not in the middle of a vape crisis by any means. But we've certainly been in a vape crisis. From your perspective, what are some of the observations that you've seen that have gotten us into that scenario? slash How have we kind of overcome some of that maybe due to regulations or just better education? Like people again, they love to vape right,
Tyler Prough 22:00
undeniably the card, it's super convenient, definitely his popularity, it will never go away. It's just it's too convenient. It's very discreet. It's just very convenient. That's that I could say with it. And you're right with the types of carts and stuff like that some of the major players in the cart market right now is CSL who is actually smaller manufacturing. Over in China, CSL was actually so say how CSL came around was small manufacturing had a line of cartridges, the cartridge that got the most popular and got the most notoriety was the C cell line. So it was actually a model number a C cell and then that's what everybody just called it and everything like this. And then they turned it into the brand and then so you have companies out here now in the US that act as the American distribution arm for smaller manufacturing over in China and those companies you got like Jupiter research based out of Scottsdale, you got three when coach supply which just got bought out by Greenland. And I'm sure there's a couple of other ones smaller guys that push see sell cards, let's see. So it's the ceramic cell or the core ceramic heating element, they're the real ones that develops the kind of the more widely adapted eating method in the cartridges, where it's a wire inside ceramic, it's not exposed. So your oil concentrates and everything your turd flavors aren't actually going to be heating the metal directly. So your flavor aspects are going to taste a million times whether they actually tastes like what they're supposed to, and not some burnt kind of device. And and so a lot of the times you have with cheaper and carts and stuff like that the internals of these devices, wiring is a big thing. People use nihil crown titanium wire, what's a nickel base wire, it's going to kind of taste a little funky, it gets super hot really fast. But depending again, how that wire is actually heating up the element and what your concentrates actually touch first, that's going to dictate on how your flavor with the type of cartridge that you're using and stuff like that, you know, price point also make a big impact. certain brands want to just have the most margin that they want. So they buy these really cheap and carts and stuff. So one of our big focuses is with Rogen is is to make that kind of consumer part a little bit more easier to where it's as there is no kind of unknown factors for the individual. So like some of the things that you were talking about when it says like taking a cart and putting it in the battery and it's not working. You don't know if it's the battery or you don't know if it's the cart, you're switching out cards going around left and right. Well it's like with our dial battery with broken style battery when you put the card in. You see how that light flashed. So that tells you that you have a good connection on the back. light flashes on the back lets you know you got a good connection. So you're good to go and you're ready to fail. If you don't see that going your carts an issue going on with the connection on the bottom of your cart. You need to check it either take it back to where you got it from, or bring it in here. But kind of bringing it back to the vape crisis. I know we're kind of added that But the big thing was is just the convenience, the popularity of these carts overshadowed what the legal cannabis market was. And so obviously black market loves this stuff too as well. And so without the states participating or getting involved and passing legislation to enact some sort of cannabis businesses to operate within their state, you have no choice but these black market people thrive. And so these guys don't care about safety. They don't care about all of this they don't have any liabilities. These guys are pushing shit up the streets and into your hand and wanting to make the most money and it's always the lingo it's Oh, well, I got this from my homie so I trust and it's like, well, your homie got this from some other homie that got this from some other homie, who do you know, how many homies Do you know that you trust that this is legit? And so a big market was like, well, this cannabis oils, CIT is big, I can get a lot for a liter of THC, I can get a lot for that. And it's like, well, I could sell these a half gram cart, or a grand cart for 50 bucks out in a black market, there is no taxes, there is no fees, there is none of this. It's all straight cash in my pocket. And then so you get these black market cartels stuff, start working in the States, these legal states to where they can actually get the supplies and stuff like that. And then they start shipping everything out. I know a big thing was like in Southern California, they were doing a lot of rightfully so it makes sense of where do you get all this supplies from, but it was a lot of the Asian cartel aspect and Southern California that was pushing a lot of this black market stuff. And these guys had underground labs and multi million dollar mansion homes and stuff and really nice neighborhoods that you would have never thought that this was a lab. They're sitting here producing oils and stuff like that. But they get all the packaging that make it look like it's legit products, they have all the supplies and these connections and stuff like that. And they have them overseas too. And so they come out and then off on to the black market. Definitely carrying around a box say full of 1000 cards has no odor because there's I can conceal this a lot smaller than I could couple pounds of flour. So yeah, just the non aspect or states not getting involved in the cannabis is what really allowed the vape crisis to thrive and push the scenario to where is your unsafe products, people can consume them all the time, you don't know what's in them, you don't have companies being held liable for testing results or any of this kind of stuff. So the big push to get rid of that is to definitely obviously adapt legalization in every state trust and build relationships with good brands that actually have good testing results certifications to know where their stuff is coming from the materials, even the types of material that's in the cart, get your metals, your ceramics or all these stainless steel, medical grade materials as a Pyrex glass, all of this kind of stuff. But this is something that in legal markets, brands that have liability, all of this kind of stuff that can fall back onto them. We ensure that these products are up at safety standards and that they meet certain levels to where we don't have vape crisis happening but you know the vitamin E acetate was the big issue in those carts it's just a cutting agents a cheap cutting agent that I can sit here and fill my cards up for less money and that these guys would go out and push around itself. I think definitely the media hype got out enough to where it scared the shit out of people to where they're like oh now that's a street card like I'm okay I'm not gonna touch that now there is still people that love it they got that trusted homie and they'll they'll use the cards but that's only in the THC game now I would like to honestly hear like some more experience with you and the Delta eight and the Texas Delta eight bad and how it's going out there and everything
Shayda Torabi 28:47
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast restart CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas. We operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store and you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt, I hope you'll check them out or your CBD needs. Let's go back to the episode. I was just about to go there. Yeah, great question. So yeah, I'm glad you kind of brought that up, because that's where I was exactly going to go because you pinned a really great picture in terms of the black market and kind of where this creation of the black market is coming from, especially with regulation, you're able to get products to consumers for really cheap and you don't have to give a shit about what's the ingredients or what the quality of the mechanics of the cartridge or the battery whatever component you're selling is and there's a market for because people especially under age, also wanted by a car because it's cool and trendy to vape. And so from a Texas perspective, we're dealing with a few things that kind of cross this conversation right. So I think it was COVID took a whole year out of Freddie's life. So I'm like, was it a year ago? Maybe not. We had a smokeable ban in Texas, the place which would prohibit all smokeable products from retail sell. So that happened, I believe, August of 2020. No, I think it was 2019. Don't quote me on the dates, y'all. But we had the smuggle ban put in place. And then there were a couple companies that sued the state saying it was unlawful for them to do so. And then the judge presiding over the case, put a pause on the ban. So we've been able to sell smokeable in Texas, since that has kind of been going up and down. But there's still no net outcome on what's happening with smoke bubbles in general. So as you can imagine, if there's a ban on it, it's gonna for sure, push a black market. Then on top of it, you have the Delta eight situation, I don't want to call that a crisis. It's certainly murky. And I've talked a lot about it on the podcast, but kind of the recent update with that is we had our legislative session two weeks ago at this point, by the time this airs will be a couple of weeks since but we had the legislative session wrap up and we had two bills or three bills in total related to cannabis, we had two bills that had an amendment added that would illegalized Delta eight officially from a law perspective. Now those bills ended up getting killed, there was a lot of back and forth a lot of hoopla a lot of crap going on now where it sits is delta eight is not illegal by the law. But our regulatory body, the Department of State Health Services, who's regulating how we get our retail license through dishes, they are coming out and saying based on the DEA is ruling of delta eight, we are referring to it as a synthetic and synthetics are illegal. So as you I'm sure have heard states like Colorado have come forward and fully legalized it. There's other states that have now there's like a seven or 11 states total that have come out and illegalized Delta eight at first, you know, I don't want to say the Delta eight is good in all accord because I do think with any cannabis products, there's bad players and people are manipulating it, they're taking advantage of it. But kind of going back to what you were saying too, about regulation. It's like if Texas would just legalize, obviously full cannabis will be great, but like let us have access to smoke doubles, then you wouldn't be pushing these things into the black market. So my belief is by legalizing delta A or removing it from the legal market where there are players like myself who have to have a license to be in good standing, and I don't want to jeopardize my license. So I don't want to sell anything that could get me in trouble. So I'm going to third party tests, I'm going to make sure my vendors are high quality continuing to do networking in the industry. Just make sure everything is checks and balancing by legalizing it, you're officially pushing it into the black market because there's a lot of people who don't give a shit about any of those things, their quality of those things. So we're kind of in a weird holding pattern right now where we don't really know where dishes is going to net out with Delta eight kind of at a federal level. Obviously DEA has said some things about Delta eight but the DEA to the FDA, there's still some questions to be answered. And then kind of throwing it back to you if you want to talk about Delta eight slash also address the pact Act, which impacts everybody. So kind of again, to reflect from a Texas perspective, we have a smokeable ban that's still in place but its paws on the band so I'm able to sell smoker bulls for the foreseeable future then you have this potential Delta eight ban which primarily people are consuming Delta eight and cartridges again, I know most people know this about Delta eight but just for you know the efficacy of the conversation Delta eight is a minor minor minor cannabinoid does not exist in high ratios organically. And so it has to be essentially created it is a created cannabinoid and one of the better ways to consume it is through vaping. For example, we do sell Delta eight flour, but the flour is essentially sprayed with the delta a product versus the cartridge. It's the pure concentration of that delta eight cannabinoids. So it's much more convenient for the consumer to be smoking Delta eight carts. And so again, you see this like, well, if the smoking ban goes into place, well, you're not going to have delta eight cards anymore. But then you have the packstack, which now I can't ship my vape products across state lines. So already I'm like, Well, I can't ship my delta eight or my vape in general into Colorado, but now I can't get my vape anywhere. And so I imagine that that adds more complexity to your business. It certainly adds complexity to our business. I don't know how you guys navigate the pact Act, or if you want to kind of explain kind of, from your perspective, what the pact act is and what it does to the vaping industry
Tyler Prough 34:17
is a wrecking ball. It is concrete. And essentially, you know, as a lot of the legal cannabis markets, they operate on a system that they call is metrics metric, and it's a track seed to sale tracking system, massive undertaking of Tracking and Data Collection keeping these records and invoices. Well, basically the pact act is essentially created that now for the ancillary paraphernalia business, the vaping industry so the pact act just so people know it's the prevent all cigarette trafficking act and so this was to stop the illegal sales of tobacco and then obviously the tax avoidance and dodging of cigarette attacks with modern electronics and the vaping movement coming into play, you had a lot of now to where it wasn't cigarettes being consumed. It's nicotine juice. And these guys, a lot of the times are circumventing state taxes, tobacco laws and all this kind of stuff. So with that, since 2009, till now there has been this kind of gray area to where these vaping companies and selling this nicotine juice, a lot of mom and pop stuff was doing it, these guys aren't having to pay all these fees and licenses and all this kind of stuff and, and going over all these regulations, what a cigarette company which has to do, and they have to meet because of the federal government putting all these restrictions. So they're basically you got tobacco companies on one hand going, Hey, this is unfair, while you have other guys going well, we're the healthier option, and we're the better for your kind of deal. So don't come after us kind of deal. Well, money wins, all states want their money. And here comes the PAC act. And basically each state with how it regards to vaping laws, each state has their own vaping laws, they have their own taxes that they implement. Each one is completely different being a national brand. What this has done for us is basically now the pact act forces us to keep records in each 50 states that we sell in, we have to keep a record. Now some of these states will take this stuff, and they're going to file it and to actually do what they want. There's some states that are telling us they don't give two shits, yeah, you can send in the paperwork. We'll put it in a filing cabinet that the federal government wants to come after us and say, Hey, where's your audit? Where's your records? Yeah, they're over there in the filing cabinet. Go knock yourself out for it, but they're not really enforcing too much. But now, we are competing in Nevada, we are in the strictest, vaping state here, all vaping devices have a 30% tax here. So yes, everything anything nicotine oriented, anything that could turn a liquid or a solid into an aerosol is considered a vaping device that got lumped into the 30% vaping. Tax today as well. So Nevada has the strictest vaping, I guess regulations, we've already been audited by the state a couple of times these guys come in Flash the badge, they I want to see your inventory and all this kind of stuff, I want to see your records, we even actually just got a call from the state the other day over a $30 discrepancy on an invoice from major national distributor that we sell in another state. And so they're combing through the records and stuff like that. But the pact act were really kind of made hassle hurdle for a lot of the smaller businesses, the smaller mom and pop guys to do it was the shipping USPS basically part of it the pack that says that USPS can't ship any vaping devices or nicotine products. So essentially that goes your small mom and pop businesses, they use USPS, it's a great, affordable shipping. So for business wise and stuff like that, if you wanted to do a shipping, you can get like a third party shipping person to do it. But this comes into if it was to say you were selling to a customer online and shipping to their house directly, it would have to be age verification, just like you're buying alcohol has to be 21 plus the delivery, you have to sign for it. You have to show a photo ID and all of that kind of stuff. But the problem is, is that shipping cost to do that kind of age verification all that costs a lot of money more so it costs more than what some of these batteries even cost. So is this now this is what your $20 battery that you're buying online is now all the sudden come to be like $45 with the shipping costs and all these fees and stuff. Well, it's just cheaper for me now just to go buy this from the store and not buying online. So that obviously causes a massive issue with a lot of online retail vaping businesses and stuff like that. But the pact act is all dependent on the guidance issued from the USPS. And currently, right now, the USPS has not issued any guidance. So the pact act right now currently is not going or it's not being enforced, technically now from a business aspect, branding wise and stuff that some advice for smaller individuals would be is to make sure that you're still having your ducks in a row though, with each state that you're operating in. Because basically, how it works is packed back gets past the states now have to abide by the pack back. Well, the states aren't going to go well. I'm not paying for the enforcement and I'm not doing I'm not sending my police around it though. All this kind of stuff, blah, blah, blah. So the federal government goes okay, well then we will send in the ATF to enforce this kind of stuff on the businesses. You collect all these records and you tell us the bad players in this and we'll go and enforce these fees and the regulations and make sure they're playing by the rules. You know, this definitely helps stomp out a lot of the cartel business, you know, a lot of illegal business mob dealings and stuff like that. There's a lot of that kind of back end, they make a lot of money off of Weis industry. So with as many vices are out there that are not in a regulated market, there's lots of potential of money to be made. So doing all of this kind of helps weed out a lot of this bad organizations and stuff like that making money off of these kind of feelings. But currently right now, yeah, USPS is holding on and they haven't issued a guidance or anything like that. I think they're kind of seeing that there are they make a lot of money off of this. So killing this kind of business. It hurts their pocketbook quite a bit too. So but yeah, that's currently right now it's just where we're at. We're kind of in limbo, just kind of with you at the Texas Stuff Pack deck. Now unfortunately, the pack deck also includes CBD products that there is no exemptions for cannabis products or anything because obviously cannabis is still federally illegal. But even it's what's odd is that they even still say CBD can't be even though it CBD is legal. So it's very interesting to see that. And then also tos you get big players like Amazon now all of a sudden coming in and talking about well, how else does Amazon ship their we they ship it? So this is a less they're doing their own third party stuff kind of shipping wise, I would say shipping weed is going to be a thing. So to kind of ban shipping with it. I don't see it holding out in the long run personally. We'll see. Yeah, it's
Shayda Torabi 41:29
been really interesting. Just navigating it because it seems like things. I'm glad you mentioned the part about the USPS not actually like having their ruling yet because that was a piece of information that I just found out about maybe the end of last week because we stopped shipping vape but I mean, we want to again, be a good steward. We want to you know, listen to the laws as ridiculous as they might be. I understand part of that is trying to settle out and figure out you know, what is the best path forward for the industry. But yeah, realizing that vape was very broad, and then it encompass CBD, it's like, WTF like, this is one of the major, you know, products we sell. And we want to be able to continue to sell those products
Tyler Prough 42:08
will and it's like even ours just like, since day one, you can look at all the packaging and go look at the products that your shop and stuff on the back of all of our packages says not for tobacco use. We have had that on our very first product since day one, we have always adamantly said is we are a cannabis vaping company, our whole purpose is to vape cannabis products has nothing to do with nicotine, tobacco, we don't want any kind of thing. But no, even in here in the state of Nevada, we got to register on the OTP list, other tobacco product list to be able to sell here in the state of Nevada, if we don't have that the state comes after us and can find us can pull our business size, they can basically shut us down. So there's all these kind of things even though we're not a tobacco product, we get lumped into it and so I definitely as more legalization happens, and stuff like that, I feel like there is definitely going to be some amendments switched into some of these laws that it's like, Hey, you got to have some exemptions for cannabis products. You can't sit here and legalize and create all these businesses and then tell them Oh, hey, by now the way you're operating, that's illegal on a law that you pass later on after these businesses set up. You can't it just doesn't seem fair. But then again, it's the government. Yeah,
Shayda Torabi 43:19
it's two faced, but I do think that they're arguing I think a little bit that it's to prevent minors from purchasing vapes online. I think your argument of you know, like, we're explicitly not tobacco, we are cannabis that's almost difficult for Texas to stomach because they're like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, we don't even want you smoking cannabis in the first place. Like you guys are crazy trying to smoke this plant. And so it just gets into all these different nuances and all the regulations and keeping track of the law and trying to navigate Yeah, like how do you ultimately create a brand or create a product that you can bring to market in the safest way possible? Like Who's your consumer? Are you going to be direct to consumer? Are you distributed Are you you know, localized to your geographical area because of the products that you're selling. And so just knowing how big vaping is both personally in my life as well as just you know, kind of in the industry obviously, like loved having this conversation with you because it's really topical, especially with the pack docks, kind of like recent passing, and also just kind of like Limbo, there's a lot of us who are just like, what do we do was happening? What can we ship? What can't we ship like what's happening in the industry? So yeah, definitely. I appreciate it. That deep dive but to wrap up, I wanted to ask you to revisit what we were talking about before we were recording you were talking about Vegas, but really it's Nevada, introducing smoke lounges. And you mentioned that there was was it a council that voted it in or presented it to the state like how did that work? Because like in Texas, we can't pass new laws. It's not like a vote on the community or the citizens of Texas like I can't vote for something to be added in to law or regulation has to go through our legislative process so kind of what is that process like in Nevada as well as what is the current cannabis regulation? I didn't realize vaping was a stringent in Nevada I don't know what else kind of Nevada has operationally differentiating them compared to let's say your neighbors in California or what's been going on in Colorado these other legal states so
Tyler Prough 45:22
yeah, definitely. So with the passing of Nevada, we passed recreational cannabis 2017 but then we told that public consumption is not allowed. Well, so is we have a bunch of millions of tourists that come here that are going to buy cannabis but now you're telling them Well, congratulations, you bought cannabis can't fly home with it and you can't consume it in public all so really, what kind of business are you thinking this is going to chum up here? What kind of tax revenue do you think is really gonna happen with this? So obviously, people still smoking weed out in Publix, though people that cause major issues for the casinos. They got a lot of people coming back into the hotel rooms still do. And they smoke out in the hotel rooms. You walk out in the elevators even now you go see some of the weed conventions come in town. The trade shows you walk into somebody that tells you like, smells like dabs up. I can definitely smell what kind of customers and
Shayda Torabi 46:13
conferences going on right now.
Tyler Prough 46:15
Yeah, yeah, definitely stands out. So for the long time. So since 2017, everybody's here going, we want lounges. We want lounges. We want lounges, biggest proponent that we have fighting against us is the casinos they don't want outside. They don't want money. They'll be leaving the strip and stuff like that. So there's a lot of obviously the alcohol lobbying groups and stuff like that they got a massive stronghold here too, as well with the nightclubs and all of this. This is big thing. They don't want another vice to come into the state take away from that from their revenue. So I appreciate you getting the chance to bring up awesome organization and Sutton nonprofit group called Chamber of cannabis here in Nevada. Basically, it is a coalition of just some very awesome, knowledgeable, very hard working major players, key people in the Nevada industry that's basically just getting together a lot of industry workers just tired of seeing kind of how the laws and the stagnation with some of the rollouts with us being able to consume cannabis freely men. So we basically got just started getting together and getting people together, getting businesses to contribute and stuff. And then they did some great work and lobbyists and working with some senators and our state legislators to get some bills push through and it's successfully got passed through the state and then went to the governor's desk to vote and he voted what would have been on Monday he voted in signed it in and so now smoke lounges are going to be come the big thing Vegas is going to be a little Amsterdam pretty much that's the US version of Amsterdam, but you know, there is still stipulations to it. I know there's like some 1500 feet from a casino. So dispensary's get first dibs on the smoke lounges, which most of them are pretty much the ones that are going to do it are already planned to do it. They bought retail locations that were going to basically accommodate the smoke lounges and build out into the smoke lounges. But if I was a smoke lounge owner, I'd have to buy my cannabis product through dispensary and not going directly to the production people or the wholesaler. I actually have to use the dispensary as the middleman for my supplies. It's very similar to like microbreweries and stuff like that selling their own brewed alcohol they actually have to sell it to a distributor and then rebuy back their product to sell at their own brew house which is right next door to where they're making the beer you know but yeah about is legalizing and smoke lounging coming very soon I know a lot of dispensaries already right now getting things going even construction permits already operating in good times.
Shayda Torabi 48:45
Be good when he legalized it is there like a timeline? I mean like you said soon but obviously selfishly I'm coming to Vegas in a couple months for some shows and I will know when the smoke lounges are going to be in action.
Tyler Prough 48:58
They're still working out some of the details like I know there's a lottery system I know we tried to push for some social equity aspect to happen in with issuing licenses out to some smaller minority players and stuff like that that are not these big dispensary guys it didn't really get a whole lot got some out of it but it wasn't really ideally I think what everybody was kind of collectively wanting it's Nevada tax in here is big money so it's all heavily relying on the money but there is a smoke around actually here operating and it's fantastic. It's a great dispensary. It's on the Indian Reservation but it's called New cannabis the right off of Main Street right by old Vegas right there but they got an awesome smoke lounge area in there. You can go in and reserve your own time slot and they got different packages that you could buy you can get a couple smoking devices you know, I think they got some Jerome Baker custom glass bongs that you get if you buy a certain package and stuff like that you get to take with you. So really cool experiences and stuff, I would say the next five years in Nevada, Canada. This industry is definitely going to see a new face, it's going to have a whole new appeal to it. And it's going to be exciting. It's going to be a lot of opportunities for a lot of people to get involved. So it's good. I'm
Shayda Torabi 50:10
dying to know from you guys. What was your favorite takeaway from that? Was there something that was shocking to you? Was there something that you were like, Oh my god, holy shit, I had no idea because I feel like the more that I dive into education, and specifically the vape category of the cannabis industry, it's really fascinating just understanding how everything is manufactured, how it's really isolated overseas for manufacturing perspective, as well as how that trickles down into the quality and the efficacy of these cannabis related vape products. And so yeah, nothing should really shock me anymore, but constantly learning as much as I can and yeah, I'm just curious out of everything that Tyler shared, what was the biggest takeaway for you feel free to connect with me on social media at V Shayda Torabi or at To be blunt pod on Instagram or find me on LinkedIn. I'd love to hear what you learned from this episode. Thanks for tuning in. I will be back next Monday with another new episode. And if you're new here and you loved this, feel free to go check out the other 54 episodes I produce. My guests are timeless. They're knowledgeable, there is so much value in all these different conversations that we're having and hope that you can learn a little something from the To be blunt podcast. So thanks again and see y'all next week. Bye.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai