Today, we are speaking with Jesse McConnell, a well-known veteran in the cannabis industry and CEO / Director of Rubicon Organic. Jesse, how exactly did you get your start in the cannabis industry?
Well first thanks for having me, we’re excited to be here! I, personally, have been in the cannabis space now for almost 20 years. I actually got in at the very early days of the industry while completing my degree in Economics. I was introduced to the sector through the medicinal side as my father became ill. Together, we found that through the use of different high CBD strains cannabis was very helpful for him personally in the management of an ocular disease that he had contracted. That was my entry point into cannabis, and I totally fell in love with the industry. I have been in it ever since.
Rumors have it that you will be listing soon, can you elaborate on that?
Yes, we will be listing on the Canadian Stock Exchange on October 10th and we’re very excited about that! We will be direct listing for now, as we don’t need any financial offerings at the moment. We’re actually fully funded for all of our working capital projects currently, but it’s great to be on the platform, to get our message out to consumers; and be able to transact with other businesses in a more meaningful way.
Your Nineteen Sixty Four Supply Co. brand, how does it differ than most?
Well, what we tried to do from a branding perspective, was to recognize that cannabis is really becoming a consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand. In our opinion, it’s just another consumer product. We wanted to take a CPG approach and we did research based on that in the community. Cannabis has been a very creative community for quite some time, and one way of channeling that was through our selection of artists. Some of which are world renowned like Jeremy Fish and Tristan Eaton, and others who are becoming great in their own right. Each artist was assigned to try our product and they designed the packaging on the basis of a different experience. That’s been a really interesting and exciting way to both engage with cannabis consumers and to use the artists’ representations as a way to create a dialogue around our products and our branding. We definitely feel that it’s made our branding more approachable to the mainstream community.
How did you deal with the ongoing legal changes in Canada and the US?
Well, I mean certainly every state every jurisdiction is unique in its own right and we’re very careful to remain within the rules and regulations of every given jurisdiction. We’re also working toward the strengths of each location versus the weaknesses. For instance, in a jurisdiction like Canada, it’s going to be very difficult for companies to differentiate their brands in terms of marketing due to the current restrictions. So, truly one of the very few differentiating factors for our Rubicon brand is going to be the fact that we’re an organic producer. On the other hand, in jurisdictions like California specifically, you have more flexibility with consumer branding. In this location, we were really focused our branding efforts and our marketing efforts in jurisdictions like Los Angeles, where global brand trends will emerge. Whereas in Canada, we’re more focused more on being a platform for high quality, low-cost production and then we can introduce those brands into both the Canadian environment at a later date via those infrastructures.
What do you think will happen on October 17 with federal legalization?
How do you see things being different in Canada versus the U.S?
I personally think that nationwide legalization in Canada is just another catalyst in a long-term trend. In particular, this trend has an extremely disruptive potential to bring cannabis to the global level. What was once a Canadian-only story three or four years ago is truly becoming a global story. My expectation is that on October 17th, nothing crazy happens immediately. It’s another milestone event that is major on the global scale – a G7 nation is legalizing nationally. Legalization like Canada’s will allow for institutions to become a little more comfortable around cannabis. Rubicon Organics is extremely excited about being headquartered in Canada, and we can’t wait to see some of the new players emerging in the space and being a part of the cannabis trend as it slowly goes worldwide.
What sets Rubicon Organics apart from the competition?
For us, we’re focused on our long-term value drivers and differentiators. The Rubicon team believes wholly in the certified organic product. The “organic” label is critical for both the millennial demographic and for people who are looking to consume cannabis products in a healthier way. We’re really looking at wellness and the therapeutic sectors and figuring out how we can penetrate those markets. Our team understands that being a certified organic producer, one of only three in Canada (two of which are traded), is imperative to our long-term success.
We believe that there are a lot of stories in the marketplace right now and at the end of the day this has to be about where the rubber meets the road. So, the real question for an investor becomes who can execute or spread the message? I definitely believe that we’re one of those companies with 100+ years of senior executive CBG experience in the company. Pair that with the 25+ years of cannabis specific experience between myself and the other co-founder of this company.
In addition to our experience, our vision is global. This global mindset won’t limit us to a single economy or legal jurisdiction. As of today, Rubicon Organics is in California, we are in Washington, we are in Germany, and we really see this as something global in the long term. In the short term, this is a matter of getting over the value gap. When compared to our competitors, who have similar production capabilities and similar expected capacity, Rubicon Organics is going to be grossly undervalued when you look at we actually have the capacity to turn on today; and that’s where we are at right now, we are undervalued relative to the amount of production that we will be able to turn on day 1 upon receipt of our license
What’s next for Rubicon Organics?
First and foremost, we want to continue to execute against our long-term strategy which has been working for the last few years. In the short-term, getting into production in Canada will be a big milestone, continuing to build our brand and develop our brand in the U.S., and we’re looking to work with other great companies in the U.S. that may be capital constrained at this time. We are going to be utilizing our strong acquisition pipeline that we’ve been building over the last two years to execute relationships with some high revenue producing entities.
A very exciting time for Rubicon Organics, congratulations on your listing!
This interview was conducted by Plexus Media.