THE GRASSHOPPER Magazine Issue #3
Cannabis Made in California
At the heart of the California cannabis industry
For 20 years now, Coast to Coast Collective - better known under their brand name 3C Farms - have stood for quality and consistency in the often so rapidly changing cannabis industry. Today, the Californians are among the most successful growers in the world's largest market for legal cannabis in and around Los Angeles.
In an interview with THE GRASSHOPPER Magazine, Waylon Broussard, VP of Sales and Director of Operations of the Collective, tells us how he came to Cannabis and 3C Farms, about their philosophy and what makes their genetics so special – think of OG Kush.
"Cannabis really runs in the family," Waylon begins and laughs. "My father has always grown cannabis, and this more or less developed into a family business with my uncle and cousin, back in the early 1970s. I smoked cannabis for the first time when I was about 15 and of course I got into trouble with my parents right away.
"When I was 18, my father and I went fishing on a lake in Oregon and he asked me if it was okay if we smoked a joint together. Of course I said 'yes' immediately. Looking back, it was one of my best experiences with my father that changed my life as well. From that point on it was completely normal to be surrounded by cannabis," Waylon says about his "official" entry into a green world.
Start with difficulties
"So I followed my roots and started growing cannabis. Together with my cousin we opened a dispensary in LA in the early 2000s. At that time, California had just started licensing medical cannabis. This went very well for a few years until the Internal Revenue Service (the U.S. tax authorities) started making life difficult for cannabis businesses through tax enforcement in 2012.” It should be mentioned here that although cannabis is legalized in a total of eleven states like California, it is still treated as an "illegal drug" at the federal level.
"As a result, we were not able to deduct expenses from taxes, ran into some financial problems and had to throw in the towel in 2014. Then Bryan Schwartz, one of our co-founders who had been supplying us with OG-Strains for several years, approached us and brought in investors who helped us with the tax debt. This then took over our license and by the end of 2015, 3C
Farms was established as a brand for cultivation," Waylon said of the difficult times. Today, 3C Farms operates two retail stores and two cultivation spaces, one of which is currently under construction with over 5,000 square meters of space. So the turnaround seems to have been achieved.
"For the future of 3C Farms, we are planning edibles, drinks and tinctures, and with the help of Asia Taber, who is our ice breaker in the medical field, there is a lot of potential here too," he dares to take a look into the future of 3C Farms.
OG-Kush - A Legend
The focus on specific genetics has been one of the secrets of 3C Farms' success from the beginning. The history of the Californians is especially connected to the legendary Westcoast-Strain OG Kush, known for its special taste, power and as the absolute cornerstone of the cannabis culture in California.
"Our history with OG Kush dates back to 1996, when Josh, a cousin of our co-founder Bryan, was the first to smuggle a cutting of this genetics from Florida to California," Waylon describes the adventurous start of a legend. "At that time, medical cannabis had just been legalized in California and Bryan then passed the strain on to growers in his inner circle. We've been growing it ever since, now as our OG line like Club33 OG or Illuminati OG. These names after conspiracy theories, by the way, are a particular specialty of Bryan's, who always wants to give people something to think about and they fit in with the beginnings of our culture in secret," Waylon laughs, explaining how OG Kush has spread. "Josh was even in prison a few years later, and Bryan gave him back the OG-Strain afterwards. The 'good old days' were a really adventurous time and not without their risks, it was all still more or less underground. We are proud to have always been part of the inner circle of the cannabis industry in California," Waylon describes the beginnings.
But what makes it so special to be successful in a market as competitive as Southern California? "Our approach that sets us apart from the competition is 'Craft Cannabis', which means hand-trimmed and farm-to-table," says Waylon, describing the philosophy behind 3C Farms. Whoever thinks of organic vegetable farmers now is absolutely right. Similar to that, Craft Cannabis keeps it natural, resulting in a product with a clear high and a better taste. Like any food, cannabis loses its quality and desired effect if stored incorrectly (e.g. through heat) or if, as is so often the case, it travels a long way with several stops along the way to the consumer. "Our approach is vertical integration, i.e. full transparency and all steps from cultivation to sale at our premises. This enables us to guarantee consistent quality, and all of this regionally, without long transport routes to the customer," Waylon says about their philosophy. "Many players in the market work a lot with smoke and mirros, great marketing and well-designed packaging. We don't care about that, we want our product to speak for itself with its quality, that's the essence of 'Craft Cannabis'". And they don't run out of ideas either. "We are currently working on 'Slow-Aged Cannabis', similar to wine. It is incredibly exciting to see how the right storage can change and optimize the taste experience and effect. We always want to try something new and push the boundaries," Waylon says about the future.
CBD, hype or cure?
How does such an "old hand" in the cannabis world view the hype around CBD in recent years, which is now fully established in our latitudes?
"The huge trend with products on every corner is quite astonishing for us, who come from the cultivation of THC-rich hemp. On the one hand, I think it is of course great that the stigmatization of this great plant is finally coming to an end and that an awareness of its many possibilities is reaching society. On the other hand, especially compared to THC-rich cannabis, there is again little or no regulation. False hopes are sometimes raised, as many people sell it as a panacea and only have the dollar signs in front of their eyes. Also, not every company is as transparent, and quality controlled as others. We recently had a study here in which no CBD was found at all in 7 of 13 randomly selected so-called CBD products. Sometimes this reminds me of the fat-free trend a few years ago. By focusing on only one cannabinoid, for example in genetics like yours in Europe with a maximum of 0.3 % THC, much of the entourage effect is lost and therefore enormous medical potential". "Personally, I consider release with sensible regulation and freedom of choice for the consumer as the only sensible way. Then everyone can find what works best for them,” he describes their approach.
3C Farms is going its own way here, always with a focus on maximizing the entourage effect, the complex interaction of the various cannabinoids in our bodies. "For example, we cultivate with a CBD-to-THC ratio of 20:1 and therefore have higher levels of CBN (cannabinol) and CBD, so the plant is more 'complete' than in genetics bred only for high THC levels. Our customers have always loved these more pleasant strains, so the success of our products proves us right".
Take me to California
For all those who now feel like a California vacation, he also has a few tips: "Cannabis is not just cannabis. Each of our strains is individual and affects different people differently. We have stimulating strains that you can try during the day, and relaxing strains to relax after a long day.” The classic for all connoisseurs is of course our OG Illuminati, a further development of the original OG Kush, with all its history of the legendary West Coast strain. “But for those looking for something lighter, we also have a new strain, one of my new favorites, AC/OG with a CBD-to-THC ratio of 2:1. With so many variations in our lineup, there's something for everyone," Waylon said. Best of all, the friendly and inviting stores at 3C Farms in California offer expert advice from the sales staff to help you find the best quality strain for your needs.
-Premium cannabis growers with two stores in Los Angeles, California and experience in the industry since the 1990s
-known for their cultivation of OG Kush and various farm-to-table strains with focus on a balanced entourage effect
INTERVIEW: Philipp Hlatky
This is an article from THE GRASSHOPPER Magazine Fall 02/2020.