PP 24 | Start Cannabis Cultivation Business

 

What does it take to put your passion for cannabis cultivation to a full-blown business? In this episode, host, Anthony Frischknecht, chats with Matt and Chris Gillard of Indoor Plant Kingdom and Jamaco, LLC about their cannabis cultivation business. They talk about funding your startup, operating under the Massachusetts law, and planning your business for sustainability. They also discuss giving back to the community and why they choose not to run their cultivation venture like the multi-million dollar players. Discover why we live in an exciting time for the cannabis industry with Matt and Chris.

Listen to the podcast here:

Passion To Product: Start Your Cannabis Cultivation With Matt And Chris Gillard

I’m here with Matt and Chris Gillard. Thanks for being on Plant Problems. I appreciate it. I wanted to fill in the audience a little bit about your background. What brings you into the cannabis industry?

As a kid, I was certainly a supporter and user of cannabis. In my early twenties, I began to get into the cultivation of it on a home scale, in closets and in smaller setups like that. In 2009, I had started a hydroponic store in Portland, Maine. It’s one of Portland’s first original hydro stores, a grow shop, a center for the community, for the people and for providing products for people to grow. At that same time, I became a registered caregiver for the state in 2009 after Maine had re-amped its medical program.

I believe it originally started in 1993 or somewhere around there. In 2009, I had started the grow store and was caregiving at the same time. From there, that developed and I began to put more focus into the growing. I did the retail at the store, but still use the store. It’s a platform for different connections into the industry at large, not only the hydroponic industry but the growing community. It connected me to both of those. At the same time, I was interested in art and music and fused all three of those things together in that part of Portland I was operating the store out of. In 2016, Indoor Plant Kingdom did three of the Portland cannabis markets, which was a community approach to allowing caregivers to highlight what they were doing at that time.

It was a free event for patients to come and check out some of the local landscape that was going on in Portland at that time, and products and different flowers that were available. From there, I had transitioned to focusing mostly with the plants and putting my focus almost exclusively on working with the plant as that was my original love. My original passion was the plants versus the retail aspect of the industry. That continued to this day. At this point, in Maine, we’ve taken a cottage industry into what’s becoming a more legitimate and recognized medical industry moving into the rec market or adult-use market, which is coming for 2020.

When did you bring your brother on board?

Matt has always been supporting the mechanical side of things.

I’m Chris’ older brother by two years, Matt Gillard. We’ve always been in cahoots together. In 2001, I traveled up to Northern California. I had a little spot up in Trinidad. I spent a year up there and made friends with a lot of great people and a lot of great community members up there. I came back home after traveling for a couple of years and bought a house. I had to buckle down and get a real job. I started the Colonial Brick Works as a small brick masonry company. We specialize in restoring first-period colonial chimneys. Old house chimneys from 1630 to 1750 are what we went around fixing.

I got a construction supervisor license and meanwhile, my brother was calling me up and telling me to outfit his closet. I built him a grow room in the closet. He’s calling me up to outfit the basement, so I outfitted the basement. The next thing I know we’re outfitting the barn. The next thing I know we’re outfitting a factory building. We’re looking at another factory building. I developed a love for the plant in growing outside the whole time on a very small scale. I’m building these amazing rooms for my brother to experiment and develop his skill and his art for growing.

Matt seems to have more of a mechanical mind, I’m more of a plant person. I’ll see my lens through this entire process for my love of plants. I’m a gardener. I’m into the medicine of plants, not just cannabis, but other plants as well.

In 2016, Massachusetts and Maine both voted to go rec. Before that, Maine was very liberal with their medical industry and Massachusetts was very stringent in their medical industry. I called up Chris and said, “Maine can be easy to get into. Let’s jump into the rec market there. I’m leaving masonry. Let’s go 90 miles per hour.” Governor LePage in Maine vetoed the bill and they stalled it. They put the brakes on it and Maine flowed down and went nowhere. Meanwhile, Massachusetts started focusing on local communities and local farmers. They put a couple of laws in that you had to get a host community agreement in order to get a state license.

I went to the local politicians, the mayor and said, “I’m operating in the town that I was born and raised in. I live in a house that I bought off from my parents. I’d like to operate on a local farm that’s in existence for 200-plus years and started cultivation there.” Luckily enough, they believed in me and my desire to call them three times a week for multiple weeks. At the end, they gave me a host community agreement. We’re in the phase of going through the special permitting process to state licensing we have submitted. We’re building a custom-built 22,000 square foot nexus greenhouse on the property that we own up.

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Our approach has definitely always been a shoestring approach. When I started Indoor Plant Kingdom, it was with one pound of growth out of a barn that I was renting at the time and doing my caregiving as well. From there, I had sublet a space from a friend of mine who’s doing screen printing in the lower East Bay side of Portland, Maine, which has now become a real destination for breweries, events and what have you in the community of Portland.

It’s the center of the art scene now.

From the sublet space, I rented a full retail space in that same building where I ran my store, but it was always shoestring. I didn’t start it with any credit cards. I didn’t start it with loans. I had $5,000 in my pocket that I bought equipment with and sublet the space and bootstrapped it for years. People didn’t come to me because I had the most inventory. They certainly didn’t come to me because I had the best selection of products. I mostly think my love and desire for the plant and for working with people as well. I had a super interest in it. I was super interested in what was going on with everything else around the cannabis community. The art, the music and the culture of it were most fascinating to me.

We’re still in that stage two. We don’t necessarily have a license granted from Massachusetts yet. We don’t have a rec license granted in Maine yet. Those are opening up for the first few years. We’re still very small scale. We’re still bootstrapping it. We’re doing it with our own capital. We’re doing it with their own sweat equity. We’re general contracting these products ourselves. It’s all very much a homegrown capital and we don’t have any big people sitting behind us.

That’s where I come from too is the caregiver’s side. To expand on that a little, the transition for you, because I know there are a lot of black market growers that are either thinking about trying to move to the next stage. You know how challenging that can be, that switch over is not easy. You’re dealing with a lot of tax issues. You’re dealing with a lot of government officials. At least with the guys that I know, I try to share with them that it is possible, that you can transition, but it is a stretch. It takes a lot. How much have you guys put out there?

We’ve been fortunate to have a pretty solid team even though it’s small. The law firm and the accountants that we work with, the business advisors that we have, the people like Damien that helped make certain connections for us have helped navigate us through that process.

We’re dealing with working with all family members or close family friends that’s involved with this. That’s typically how we’ve done it. It’s certainly a family-run approach.

That’s another thing you pointed out, advisers. You want to find the good ones, but they also cost money. You have to invest into that. That’s hard for the new entrepreneur to understand sometimes because they’re wondering how to stretch that dollar. If you shoestring it, do I spend $5,000 on this attorney or do I try to save the $5,000 and put it into the grill? These are things you have to work with.

What I’ve done on the immediate local level, that didn’t cost me anything. It was the greatest value that I got. When we started raiding the zoning in town, I went to all the zoning board meetings. I went to all the city council meetings. I made friends with all my counselors. Now when I walk through my local town, people recognize me on the government level, which I never thought would be a thing. I had the opportunity where this was a brand new industry in Massachusetts to write some of the regulations. When they were talking about zoning and where should we zone this marijuana farm, I said, “Why don’t we incorporate the farms in town? We have this area in town that has a bunch of farms. Let’s put that and maybe incentivize our farmers,” knowing that I had a lease on one of those farms and I was trying to get that in my pocket. That did take going on Wednesday night at 7:00 twice a month to the town hall to sit through some ridiculously boring meeting and shake hands and talk to people about cannabis. They had no idea of what I’ve seen or where I’ve been. They have their idea of cannabis as more of a bag of oregano in a plastic bag that they confiscated.

There are certainly a lot of challenges too. I didn’t fall in love with the business. I’m not a business person per se and I didn’t fall in love with insurance, dealing with lawyers or paying accountants to look at my books. I’m in love with cannabis. That’s what I love most is the plant and the joy that I can give to people when I produce something that I love. I can share it with my love, friends, family member or a patient and see that excitement that they share. That’s what I love most and some of the other aspects that surround it, I enjoy. It’s a challenge for me to maintain that moving forward. If I continued to have that conviction, that love for plant and doing what I ultimately believe in, that’s going to be successful for me. It’s not trying to create this McDonald’s brand or this recognizable brand that’s going to make me successful. I feel that it’s my love and my drive that will do that ultimately.

A word that’s been thrown a lot around is sustainability. The way we’ve practiced cannabis in the past years has sustained us and sustain their lives. We haven’t hurt anybody or anything while doing it. We’re going to take that same model and keep trying to be more and more sustainable with our plant growth in our life and our culture. That’s not just with what we use, but the people that we employ we’re going to deliver our message to, our customers we’re going to deliver our message to. We’re going to hammer home the fact that quality above all is what we’re looking for. We’ve been touring a lot of the Denver dispensaries when we’re out there.

PP 24 | Start Cannabis Cultivation Business

Start Cannabis Cultivation Business: Massachusetts focuses on local communities and local farmers. They put in a law that you had to get a host community agreement to be a state-licensed marijuana establishment.

 

We finally started touring the Massachusetts dispensaries. Massachusetts on Wikipedia a few years ago was ranked number 47th in cannabis cultivation. This was in 2016 when they went rec. At the time, I believe they were the second or third largest rec market population. We had a user population that was 1, 2 or 3 in the country. We had a cultivation population that was ranked number 47. The people that have moved into our industry in Massachusetts now are the big business competitors that have none of the love that my brother has and none of the fields and the principles that they have. It shows in their product. It shows in their staff. It shows in the layout of their facilities. We walked into a facility and we were handed a menu that looked like it came from a restaurant and they said, “If you want to be expedited, check off what you want. The menu would go straight to the register.”

We quickly realized as well that there’s a need for that. We recognize the fact that a lot of people are okay with that. This is a new system for them. That’s what they’re going to know for a lot of people. We also recognize the fact that there were a lot of people who have a deep love and want more of that artisan approach. That’s where we come from. How we handle our intentions with working with a plant, how we process the plant is of the utmost importance.

When they handed you that menu, were you a bit confused at the time? I know you’re around cannabis a lot, but if you’re the new user, how is the new user supposed to understand what they’re getting into?

He said, “If you want to speak to the budtender step over into this line and wait for the budtender.” They only have one budtender on the staff at the time. The three of us walked up and spoke to this one budtender and he was able to handle us. That was after waiting 5 or 8 minutes for him to finish with the previous customer.

These people have big dollars that are coming in, which you guys don’t. Aside from customer service, which sounds like you are going to try to provide the top possible, what sets you apart from these other guys? Do you have a name for this store yet?

In Maine, it’s Indoor Plant Kingdom. You can find us at IndoorPlantKingdom.com. On Instagram, it’s @IPK2.0. Those are some certain ways to connects with us. In Massachusetts, the company is Jamaco LLC. That referred to a part of the town that used to refer to the farming part of the town. Some of the things that we hope that will stand us apart are education. It’s educating our customers of what we do differently, why we’re different from the next guy and why the products we feel are created with more love, passion, drive and conviction in our belief system. We’re going to try to educate our customers about that. We hope that they have the choice to make and they can choose one or the other. We’re happy with whatever they choose, but we’re confident that people will support our vision.

We plan on giving a significant amount of money back to the communities and we’re going to focus on where we put that money and tying our name with them and their name with us. We’re going to support other local organic businesses and try to build a network and a community around high-quality clean products.

I’ve had the opportunity in the past few years to build that network. There is certainly a good portion of people in Maine that support me, that support what I do and that are behind my vision and our vision.

What ideas have you come up with to give back? It’s a good point for people to understand that, if you wouldn’t mind sharing some ideas that you are looking at doing. Are you okay with that?

One of the first things that I’ve done from day one with Indoor Plant Kingdom is with the artists. That’s one of my own personal love is supporting local artists. All of our designs aren’t done by digital designers or graphic designers or what have you, but they’re done by local artists. Throughout my entire process, we have dozens of commissioned pieces that I’ve reached out to local artists. I say, “Can I hire you to help me with this?” It’s a small example, but that’s one of the things that we want to continue to do as well as putting money back into education and schools. We’ll have some help with that. When we get there, we’re going to have to certainly put some more thought into the ways in which we can give back. One of the thoughts that we’ve had is allowing some of our vendors to sit down with our vendors to say, “What do you guys believe in? What do we believe in? What are some causes locally that we can give back a percentage of our sales to, whether it’s veterans or education?”

Jamaco down in Massachusetts has committed a city next to us, Haverhill. They have a large homeless population. They have a local homeless shelter, Emmaus group. They do a lot of good things for the community and they sponsor a bike ride. We’ve been in talks with them. We’re helping them sponsor that bike ride and working with them to see what their needs are on a small level. We’re not advertising what we’re doing necessarily but helping them with the actual mechanical aspects of it. Our older brother is a bicycle mechanic. He’s going to come down and help donate with that. Hiring local people is a big cost for us. We want to put our money that we’re spending back into the local community. If you’re from the town of Amesbury where our business is located in, you’re definitely going to get, I can’t say preferential treatment, but we’re going to look at you a little bit closer in getting a local person in and promote the local company.

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Those are all great things, promoting your local economy. You are a small business. It’s nice to help the small businesses around you, especially providing jobs for people. Statistically, the cannabis market in Colorado, I believe it was at 5,000-plus people who are employed by the cannabis industry right now, which is pretty huge.

It goes down to choosing your growing methods. We’re looking at a hybrid greenhouse. It has a glass roof. It’s great for business. It’s going to drop our cost production. It’s great for the plant’s health. It’s having the full spectrum sunlight to help grow our plants. It’s pretty neat when it gets cloudy. We can turn our lights on a little bit and we’re able to grow in a much wider soil medium in there. On the farm that we’re located, there’s a cowherd. We’re going to try to implement their byproducts, their manure. It’s broken down after 1 to 2 years and using that for our soil to produce.

You brought up the greenhouse that you are building. Talking about financing, were you able to get that finance through the greenhouse company or is that something you are paying for on your own?

That’s not something we’re able to get through. They didn’t finance us. We’ve been able to scrape together some family help, pull on some family loans and get it completed that way. They aren’t cheap to start up, but it comes down to the general contracting. My other company, Colonial Brick Works, we’re going to general contract it. The excavating work, the farmer also has a bunch of excavating equipment. He’s going to do all the dirty work excavating it. We are looking at using friends and family in the contracting of it to drop our price per square foot of construction. Those greenhouses do start to run at $250 a square foot. You could get a nice $300 a square foot for a brand new installation. If we can drop that down into the $175 range, it suddenly becomes affordable.

It sounds like you’re accessing whatever resources you can to make it possible and that’s what it takes. People on the outside get overwhelmed by the actual upfront capital that they think it’s going to cost. It seemed to scare them away a lot of the time, at least from people that I’ve talked with.

It can be overwhelming, absolutely.

Chris has a working model and a reputation that family and friends will trust and rely on us because they’ve seen the consistent output of the high-quality seeds that it allows.

Chris, you’ve got a nice advantage because you get your materials at costs coming in. You’re able to influx into your other company. For people that aren’t able to do that, would you have any ideas on how they could maximize their dollar when they go into purchase from either a store like yours or a gardening center?

My model has always been to maximize what you already have. Instead of adding ten extra lights to a system, make sure that the ten lights that you started with, that you’re maximizing it. There are a lot of ways that you can increase your efficiency without spending more money. That’s what I would always tell people. If you’re getting a pound, a pound and a half per light where you should be getting 2 to 3 pounds per light and you want to add more lights, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a simple way, but to say, “Let’s make sure that you’re getting the most out of the equipment that you already use.”

That’s one of the easiest ways I would probably suggest starting smaller rather than starting bigger. It’s walk before you can run mentality. It’s interesting that two different markets, Massachusetts has 100,000 square foot licensed market and if you’re going to build 100,000 square feet grow, you’re looking at $15 million, $20 million. Maine’s largest license that they’re going to offer is 20,000 square feet. They’re seeing a much smaller niche market. If we’re outfitting a 5,000 square foot grow to get us into the craft cannabis market, there’s some upfront cost. We’ve even spoken with the other growing stores and said, “Do you guys offer financing packages? If we need 100 lights from you, could you give them to us for $70,000 rather than $100,000?

Chris, you bring up a great point in maximizing the lights and the products you have. Many people are not maximizing their yields and these are little tweaks and little things you can do around your room to make it better. If you go in and never grow and you throw up 100 lights and you get a half a pound for light, you have no idea what you’re doing.

PP 24 | Start Cannabis Cultivation Business

Start Cannabis Cultivation Business: Supporting local artists is one way of giving back to the community.

 

It’s not working up. It looks like you’ve got a lot of weed, but the math says less is more. Again, I’ve had the advantage for it for ten years in the medical market to learn how to grow and to understand that and years before that, personally for myself. I had a lot of experience with cannabis and certainly recognizing what quality cannabis is. That’s been a real advantage for me. Less has been more for me, my lifestyle. That’s sustainable for me. That works for me and my family. I’ve always advocated that shoestring approach, walk before you can run idea with that, maximizing and also being progressive with the industry. Watch out for the new products. If you can turn your lights out for an extra hour a day before you harvest them, do that. If you can shut them off for 24 hours before you harvest, you do that. We try to find little ways around where we can continue to maximize and continue to progress.

If you go for the biggest of the big, there are companies out there that are willing to lose millions of dollars a month to get into this industry. They are willing and have that stamina to do that for multiple years on end. If we’re going to compete against that, it feels like a David and Goliath situation. I can tell you that out of the fifteen stores that I’ve been to, I could show you something that we have sitting here that would put all those guys to shame. It’s embarrassing on what the recreational market is bringing to the population.

You see the obvious opportunity where you can fit into that. The little guy out there feels like David and Goliath. There are a lot of people moving to other states where they think it may be better, where the regulations might be more favorable. It’s happening out here in Colorado. A lot of people are moving to Oklahoma because of the favorable regulations right now, but things can change quickly. Those obvious hurdles that you are dealing with, that also is an advantage to keeping other people out.

We’ve had a unique situation where there’s a lot of community in Maine, a lot of people who root for each other. There are a lot of caregivers who help each other. While it’s not happening as much now, but certainly like a co-op model. It could be interesting to see as an open market approach to it. Whereas we can curate and pick some of the best farmers that we know and bring them all together to say, “Look at what we know, twelve different good growers.” They’re all small scale relatively speaking to some of these big giant companies. If we pull together and we all have something different and unique available, we can bring more to the table for the market.

Chris has been in downtown Portland since 2000. I never left my hometown, Amesbury. I did try to do the gold rush out to Humboldt County. I was way before Murder Mountain. It was 2001. Out there, I realized I could make it out there, but I was dealing with a bunch of local boys. I’ve found the foothold that we had. If you go into another state and chasing other regulations, there are ten other people behind you with more money doing the same thing. What we’ve done is we put our feet down and anchored into the local economy. Amesbury is where we got our host agreement. It’s where I live. It’s where I know the people that I’ve been able to advance that because knowing people in Portland, he’s been able to control, get a foothold in the culture there and everybody knows him because he stayed in Portland. He hasn’t moved all-around chasing a million different nuggets.

With the culture in Portland, are people understanding of, “We need to work together?” Are they feeling that?

They are, absolutely. It’s a unique situation. The population from Maine to Massachusetts, they’re very different. Maybe thirteen million in Massachusetts and three million in Maine.

One of the things in Portland is there’s a lot of accountability. We know people in Maine. We know our neighbors. We know people down the street. We know other businesses that create different practices.

Whereas if I’m living in New York City and I pissed somebody off, I might never see them again. In Portland, they’re going to know you. That helps sort itself out as far as business practices and behaviors. There’s a lot of accountability. It doesn’t take much for people to recognize good behavior or poor practices. We’ve always tried to stay ahead of that, be progressive, do the right thing and put out a product that we’re proud of. It’s a fleeting illusion for us in a sense as far as how good it can be, how good the product could be. I’m my own worst critic. It’s never good enough and it’s always we need to strive to make it better and to make sure that we consistently put off something that we believe in. If we believe in it and we love it, we know our patients are going to love it. Our customers are going to love it and our family is going to love it. That’s been the approach.

We’re not shooting to be MyGrow. We’re not shooting to be McDonald’s. We know there’s going to be the Curaleafs in the multistate, multinational companies coming in, but we see it go more towards the craft grew or the wine industry.

I’m more like an artist in approach. I would like to see it not sold on a weak value. I want to see one of our nuggets in that one jar and said, “This nugget is this.” It doesn’t matter on the weight, but this is the way it was grown. This is what it looks like. This is what it smells and tastes like. The same bottle of wine with the same exact filling in both. It goes through two hugely different prices on the way it was handled after the fact.

Maximizing what you already have is one way to increase your efficiency without spending more money. Click To Tweet

You bring up an interesting scenario. Where do you see the future of vaping and concentrates fall into this?

They’re huge. I’m certainly a big proponent of the solventless approach to extracts. They all have a great place and they’re all wonderful products, but they’re big. We see the market use more and more of them. Vapes, as you know, are huge. For the general culture, they’re shifting towards that. What I’ve noticed from a grower standpoint is that there’s been a real correlation. It’s not as good. The quality seems to be dipping, but with a pen or a cartridge, it’s a convenience thing. The quality is less of a concern for a lot of consumers.

Not all of them but for a lot of consumers, they’re happy with what they’re getting and that’s perfectly fine. It goes into the culture in educating our customers and our clients and letting them know that the experience when you’re going to smoke a whole plant flower is a very different experience, sitting around the campfire and ripping on your pen. If you do choose to rip on your pen, we’re going to point you towards the dry hash, solid extracts, but it’s certainly big. It’s a huge market. I’m seeing that the culture is demanding it. People want it and they want a lot of it. Oils, shatters, distillates, isolates, THCA and now they’re beginning to separate some of those compounds.

Do you plan on providing edibles and concentrates through your own manufacturing or are you going to look to other partners for that process?

It’s probably through other partners. In the main community especially, I’ve had those relationships. I’m fortunate to have people that I know are more experts in those fields. I try to stay in my lane and say, “My effort is best spent producing high-quality cannabis, the flower.”

How hard is it to stay in your lane?

For me, it’s not because I’m a plant person and that’s the same way I veered from the hydroponic industry to go towards plants. I love plants.

Matt, what about you?

I’m excited to be in the industry. I decided to finally get the opportunity to make a brand for ourselves, to bring this product to the masses. It excites me, even if the masses mean 250 people. The extract market is saying that we’re going to focus on high-quality flowers. That’s probably 45% of the market these days. Most of it is in edibles and vape pens. We can put ourselves on a shelf that’s higher than everybody else’s and people will pay what we asked for. That will be a sustainable life for us. Making the $300 million seems a great idea at all. I come from a brick mason background. I’m the guy standing on your roof building a brick chimney. It might be a little too much for me.

I know what we can complete. I know what we’re good at. It starts with the initial capital. The grow facility that we’re building, we’re going to be well for $1 million. If we’re going to put an extraction facility in there, the building alone is going to cost me another $200,000 and I’m going to stick a $600,000 extract machine in there. Now we have to hire a full-time chef. Now I’m looking at a payroll that is close to $1 million a year and it does very much jam us into the middle of big business. We’re a couple of hippie kids from a small town. It gets a little scary.

It’s a little bit intimidating.

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Start Cannabis Cultivation Business: Today, you can go to the chief of the police station, give him a security plan for your cannabis cultivation facility and ask him to sign it off. Several years ago, you would have gone to jail.

 

We’ll take out a piece and hopefully, our piece can pull our family. If not, if I have to go pretend to be Santa Claus again, I will.

You brought up a lot of different thoughts that came over me is when you’re building this. How do you live? How do you pay your own bills? Chris sounds like he’s got the growing company, which helps sustain that. Every other waking minute you’re working to get licenses together and get the grow together. Is that correct?

That’s correct.

Matt, what about you? Are you still running the masonry company and stuff?

I finished my last large contracts. I was running on a part-time crew. The biggest we got, we got to eight guys for a couple of seasons. The last few years have been down to me and two other guys. I laid those guys off a couple of months ago. I’ve been finishing up the schedule. I have officially left that company with a little bit of savings and to try to make it through the next couple of months through construction.

That’s another thing that people should understand is that you are not only shoestringing, but you’re also trying to pay your bills at the same time. You’re risking it all.

In 2016, I can show you drafts or business plans that we had and scales that we had that showed that right now 2019, we should be on our fifteenth harvest. We should be up to $6 million and I should have been done with masonry. I’ve told people for the last few years, “This is my last job.” With the permitting process being delayed, everything is going to get kickback further and further. It takes three times as much time as I thought. I finally think we are at a point where for me it’s a transition of a lifestyle.

That’s another thing that people don’t understand is dealing with the city and dealing with your fire marshals. You’re coming into a big spot of it especially dealing with the greenhouse because you don’t know until you go through it. You’re like, “I think I should be on my fifteenth harvest.” The reality is that was what your projections were. It’s not the reality now.

You have the drive to push through those low moments when you realize, “I’ve got to throw this piece of paper away because it’s irrelevant there. We’re not meeting this deadline.” Set up another deadline for yourself and say, “With just as much power and speed, I’m going to go hit that deadline.” When you miss that one, set it up and do it again.

Especially if you haven’t had a successful business, there are a lot of guys out there that have been entrepreneurs and started businesses, but until you get that point and you get that moment, it seems like both of you guys have gained some success in your other businesses so you’re able to understand that. For the guy out there that is starting up, what words would you give him as advice? What would you say once he gets in this? How should he handle the stresses that come about aboard?

Chris speaks well of that. It’s not losing the focus of what makes you happy. You have to stop. You’re going to find yourself working after dinner, after the family goes to bed. You still get to try to cut out some time for your life to do the things that used to make you happy. It will make you happy.

Enjoy the little things that make you happy and realize what incredible world we live in right now. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of sacrifices to be made, absolutely. If you’re doing what you love, I feel like I don’t work at all. I’m in that unique rare position. If you’re passionate and you love it, that hopefully should be the driving factor. It’s a beautiful thing. Cannabis is a plant and the usage is going up throughout the whole United States. I’m sure the whole world at that, I would not be surprised. The plant has the ability to catch on. We need ideas. We need new people. We need help. Me growing it in a basement or in a barn, it can only go far. I can only provide it to so many people and more people want it. I’d encourage people to work together and to try to be progressive, to try new things that they might not have seen. Certainly, don’t look to your neighbor and copy what he’s doing. There’s a whole unique host of people that you can look around. You probably know somebody who has nothing to do with cannabis, but they’re good at education, they’re good at research or they’re good at building.

Working together ultimately has been proven to be one of the things that’s helped us be successful. Don’t forget why you’re in it. Enjoy the little things that make you happy and realize what incredible world we live in right now. I sit down with the chief of the police station and gave him my security plan for my cultivation facility that I’m building, asking him to sign off for. Several years ago, he’s the guy that I said there are the blues and got nervous and thought I was going to jail.” The realm has changed so much. The world was on top of its head right now. This is the one opportunity guys like us have. If you’re in a situation like us, grab it and run with it. We’re not IT guys. We didn’t make it big in the tech thing. There are no more gold nuggets laying up on the hills of California. Prospect in that stuff is not going to work. This is a very good opportunity, a unique opportunity for sure.

It’s going to take hard work. We’ve always worked hard and that is the epitome of that. Being a mason and us combining those skillsets, collaborating and working together is one of the things I would point to encourage people to try to do more of.

Matt, is being in those meetings like that surreal when you’re sitting there in a conference table?

I can’t believe it, especially where I’m a guy that was smoking cigars on top of a roof, 30 feet in the air, set in bricks, big stones and things like that. All of a sudden, you’re going out behind the work trail, smoking a joint, all nervous. Now we’re talking to the chief of police and the mayor. The mayor of Amesbury signed me a permission slip to cultivate marijuana in Massachusetts. That was one of the greatest letters that were ever signed for me. I couldn’t even sign my name to it. I was so excited.

Especially if you’re coming from somewhat gray market and understanding that those are a part of the progress of the industry and understanding that is a stretch that you have to take as an entrepreneur in order to grow your company. That’s challenging for a lot of people to understand and to get over such as stretching yourself in any business. It doesn’t matter if it’s cannabis or not. It’s taking that leap of faith that you have to be willing to do to become successful.

That’s what it is. I have a wife and two small children. There are some people that look at me and my town now like I’m a bad person because they’ve been told something for so long. I see it as we’re opening up a market. We’re opening up a product to be researched. The potential benefits and the windfalls for a society that could come out of this are much greater than putting people in jail over.

Have you lost some friends?

Yes. There are some people that my relationship now is much different with. Once they knew that I was a closet pothead over a conservative brick mason, all of a sudden, they said, “You’re a liberal hippie. You’re not a conservative brick mason.” Things definitely have changed. Relationships have changed.

I’m guessing Chris probably since he’s been in the area for quite some time out in the open. Have you lost some friends?

I’ve always kept it that way so people interact with other businesses. I’ve always respected, be positive and do the right thing.

He’s rubbed off on me very nicely.

That’s awesome you are putting something together. It’s rare that families can do that anymore. I want to thank you for being on the show. How can people contact you?

IndoorPlantKingdom.com is one of the websites that you can check out. @IPK2.0 is my Instagram, which people could check out and they can get a real feel of what’s going on. We’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn for Indoor Plant Kingdom. Those are some of the platforms. JamacoLLC.com and there’s also Jamaco LLC for Facebook. Instagram is @Jamaco_LLC.

I’m glad you guys were on. I look forward to your success and hearing from you in the future. I wish you the best of luck. It’s a hard road, but it’s a fun road once you get there. Keep looking towards that tunnel because that tunnel will get closer.

Thank you.

Important Links:

About Matt and Chris Gillard

PP 24 | Start Cannabis Cultivation BusinessPP 24 | Start Cannabis Cultivation BusinessJAMACO, LLC was founded in early 2018 with the idea and belief in high quality craft cannabis grown sustainably. We are in the process of building a custom build a state of the art, energy efficient, hybrid greenhouse for the purpose of supplying the adult use marijuana market in Massachusetts. JAMACO, LLC will operate a Tear 2 cultivation 22,400 sq ft in a stand-alone hybrid greenhouse that utilizes a clear roof to harness 100% of the sun’s energy for plant growth.

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