North Coast cannabis start-ups tackle tours, software, vaping pens, cultivation, delivery
Consulting, touring, creating software and salves: These are just a few of the plans of those entrepreneurs seeking to establish a beachhead business in North Bay cannabis commerce.
Staffing for cannabis businesses
Jamie Garzot, owner of 530 Cannabis, a cannabis retail store in Shasta Lake, and Synergy, a cannabis retail store in Redding, has branched out into a consulting service, Santa Rosa-based Roots Consulting.
“I assist companies, particularly retail cannabis businesses, with understanding how they can meet California tax obligations and comply with California labor laws. I am going to focus on Sonoma County because I recently returned to the area. That is where I live and that is where I’m from,” said Garzot.
Garzot, also the owner of North State Enterprises, a Shasta Lake-based staffing company, is also offering North State’s services to cannabis businesses.
“I help cannabis companies find experienced candidates to be security guards, reception people, cashiers, and budtenders (a service person with knowledge of cannabis varieties who helps patients or customers choose the strain that meets their needs). I see resumes from all over the country for these positions, in part because the wages in the cannabis industry are higher than minimum wage and there’s a lot of opportunity for growth.
“Also, staffing firms offer cannabis businesses a solution to some of their banking issues. When we become the employer of record, we assume the responsibility of employer tax deposit obligations. Most of (these) have to be made electronically. Since we are not cannabis operators (do not cultivate, make products with, or deliver cannabis), we are not barred from using banks,” said Garzot.
Wine-like cannabis clubs
Devika Maskey is co-founder of TSO Sonoma, a Santa Rosa-based manufacturer of cannabis vape pens. Maskey states her business is working to get cultivation, distribution, and dispensary licenses and fully launch in early 2019. TSO Sonoma also plans to introduce a cannabis-infused beverage in the coming year.
“Right now co-founder Allison Kosta and I are holding educational events to teach the community about our products. What we offer is like a wine club membership, exploring cannabis as a health and wellness product. Since we both live in Sonoma County, we are focused here. We have done a few events at private homes in Napa,” said Maskey.
TSO Sonoma’s schedule includes Elevated Events, are pop-up dinners with local chefs and seasonal foods. During the dinners, Maskey and Kosta explain to those who are unfamiliar with cannabis what the substance can do for them. They also showcase where they source their materials, “from different small farms that grow organic flower,” said Maskey.
“We currently have four vape pens, a lighter blend with CBD for socializing during the day called Awakening, a stronger blend for sleep called Moonlit Night,” a stimulating pen called Steppe Into Reverie, and Grounded, a 100 percent CBD non-psychoactive blend, said Maskey.
Cultivation for medical use
Shannon Hattan, co-owner together with Cameron Hattan of Fiddler’s Greens, a cannabis farm south of Sebastopol, said the farm is now focused on providing low-dose, non-psychoactive cannabis tinctures for about 60 medical cannabis dispensaries and retail stores from Eureka to San Diego. Fiddler’s Greens has a cultivation license in Sonoma County. The business is waiting on manufacturing and distributing permits to be approved in Santa Rosa.
“Expanding our customer base to reach the entire state has been the result of Cameron spending a lot of hours in the car. He’s attended every cannabis festival, knocked on dispensary and retail store doors, attended medical and educational conferences, and come to patient education days at dispensaries,” said Hattan.