Several years ago, Shawn began coaching weightlifting and opened up a small gym in his garage to train athletes. Shawn also worked in the private equity space when, about five years ago, he started getting involved in the cannabis industry. Specifically, he began working with a master grower in Southern Oregon. This led to him starting a grow operation up in Southern Oregon, He later started a hemp company, which allowed him to get back into business in Utah.
Shawn got involved in hemp after seeing his master grower in Oregon treat seizures from a brain tumor with a high CBD strain of cannabis. This experience led to his fascination with hemp and the benefits of hemp.
He was able to take that experience, and the lessons he has learned in setting up operations and led to bringing in some of the best cultivators and growers in the world. His goal is to ensure patients have access to the finest cannabis products for whatever conditions they're looking to treat.
Utah state officials gave growers like Shawn an aggressive timeline of March 1, 2020. This included Shawn providing the state with a long-term grow plan.
To meet this deadline, Shawn set up a temporary grow operation. His team has been able to grow some beautiful flowers and plants. Their grow operation is very manual and not all automated.
Shawn is currently building a state-of-the-art, world-class grow facility that will be their permanent location.
Shawn wants to grow the best exotics and the most beneficial plants. He is committed to helping patients get the relief that they need. They have spent over $150,000 on their temporary grow location and they are spending millions on their new, permanent location.
He’s excited about the difference he’s making in patients' lives so far. Their process is very scientific and meticulous, including hand trimming leaves off of the flower.
There were challenges with zoning and other laws, such as needing to be a certain distance from schools and from residential areas. Also, he needed a landlord that was progressive enough to understand the opportunity.
The new facility will have hundreds of thousands of dollars in HVAC. They expect for the facility to be completed in six to eight weeks, and then operational two weeks after that.
Shawn’s team is doing a lot of research and development, defining their genetic library. He is looking for plants that have the characteristics of the mother plant, the father plant, and the proper terpene profiles.
Shawn doesn’t believe being in Utah will hold him back. He enjoyed his time in Oregon, but his family is here in Utah.
In 2018, Proposition 2 was finalizing and he began to look into how he could help people in his home state and provide them with high-quality medicine.
Shawn’s delivery to dispensaries is dependent on how fast the state completes test results. The team performs a harvest about every three weeks. From there, it takes about ten days to two weeks to dry.
Once properly dried, the state will come pick it up for testing. Once test results are processed, they are able to release products to dispensaries.
The Utah Department of Health performs tests to protect patients, including testing for potency and the presence of THC and cannabinoids.
They also test for mold, metals, pesticides, microbials, fungicides, etc., making sure that products are safe to consume.
Shawn believes it’s important to have a functioning program where they can be confident they are consuming Medical Cannabis products that will not cause them further harm. Organ systems and their immune systems may already be compromised. This makes state testing critical to give patients confidence in the products they’re using.
Shawn thinks that the term “recreational” should be replaced with “adult use.” He believes the term “recreational” carries a stigma of a cannabis culture that is characterized as lazy, not motivated, etc.
He also believes that the next step for the state of Utah is to expand the list of qualifying conditions for cannabis. Pharmaceuticals have failed to help conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD, and he believes Medical Marijuana can be a better option.
Shawn describes his experience with a patient who has been hospitalized with mental health issues and chronic pain. After receiving a Medical Cannabis Card, the chronic pain went away. Also, she was able stop using benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and antidepressants to treat her mental health issues. She saw a huge improvement in her quality of life. Even her psychiatrist was amazed at her turnaround.