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Utah in the Weeds Episode #84 - Shawn Hammond of Proper Cannabis Co.

What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 84 of Utah In the Weeds features Shawn Hammond, a co-founder of Proper Cannabis Co.

Shawn told us about his transition from Oregon's recreational cannabis market to forming a national hemp brand, Proper Hemp Co. [05:45]

His company was unable to secure a cannabis grow license to serve Utah's Medical Cannabis patients. So he began overseeing cultivation for Zion Cultivars. [08:59]

After a time, Shawn wanted to go back to his original dream of expanding Proper Cannabis in Utah. [10:45]

He told host Tim Pickett about Proper Cannabis Co.'s science-based approach in making cannabis products. [12:28]

Shawn and Tim had an interesting discussion about "bioavailability," or the body's ability to absorb cannabinoids and other chemicals. [13:07]

They also talked about the differences between isolated CBD and full-spectrum CBD. Both agree the latter has much more medicinal value. [14:02]

Shawn talked about the nano-emulsion technology that Proper Cannabis uses to make their products easy for the body to absorb. [16:45]

Proper Cannabis Co. plans to launch a number of new products in Utah throughout 2022, starting with a THC tincture. [21:28]

Shawn talked about Proper's medical condition-based approach to formulating cannabis products, and the challenges of testing products to be sold in Utah. [28:50]

He announced a beta test of some new Medical Cannabis products, for qualifying patients. See his Instagram for details. [32:00]

The two talked about some of the challenges of state licensing and procuring source material. [34:30]

Tim and Shawn talked about their shared love of Olympic weightlifting. Then we wrapped up the episode with a discussion of Shawn's recent out-of-state cannabis taste-testing. [44:00]

Podcast Transcript

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everybody out to Episode 84 of Utah in the Weeds and a big shout-out and welcome to 2022, right? Here we are. I hope you enjoyed last week's episode. We got it out a little bit late. The year in review, the 2021 year in review, if you missed that, go back and listen to it. It was I think released on the 3rd of January. We'll be back after this episode. We'll try to be back to this Friday episode release every Friday at 4:20 a.m, coming to you from Utah here. My name is Tim Pickett. I am the host of Utah in the Weeds and I'm looking forward to this entire year because there's so much good that has been happening in the cannabis space and in the medical space from my perspective over the past couple of years since the program started, and I hope to outline some of that in 2022.

Tim Pickett:
Today's guest is Shawn Hammond. Shawn Hammond is a good friend of mine. You may know him, you may have listened to the episode before when we had him on. He is the owner and partner in Proper Hemp and Proper Cannabis Company. Proper is a company that's been around for a little while. You may have seen it in Utah, you may not have. It's in multiple states, they've been doing CBD products and hemp products for a while, and they've come to Utah. Shawn's brought that to Utah to develop cannabis products or THC products for the medical market, and we talk a lot about his nano-emulsification process. He is really into bioavailability, which just means the absorption of the product into the human body, and he's also into strong products. I like that about him. We talk a little bit about weight lifting too, so stay tuned for that at the end there, and I think you're going to enjoy this episode.

Tim Pickett:
From a housekeeping perspective, what to look forward to over the next few months. The legislative session is coming up and there's a couple of things that we are really focused on this year to try to get changed with the program, and one of them is covering for other providers that are in the same group, right? Covering for other providers that are in the same group, so I can see my partner's patients when my partner is out of town or sick or gone or moves out of state even, and then the other thing is this patient caps. Patients should I believe have a choice of who they see. I think that that's becoming more and more evident. People are migrating to the folks that they want to take care of them, just like normal medicine, you get to choose your own doctor, you get to choose your own PA. Why not in the medical cannabis space, right?

Tim Pickett:
So look forward to episodes with ... Hopefully we'll get Rich Oborn back on from the Department of Health. We'll talk to the advocacy groups. We'll talk to some pharmacists. I want to bring on some pharmacists from WholesomeCo and last but not least, before we get into this episode, I want to update you on our subsidy program Uplift. So Uplift launched in December 2021. It is now the largest subsidy program that I know of in the state of Utah for medical cannabis patients. We are going to be able to see 22 patients in January for free or reduced cost. These are low income and terminally ill patients. You can find out more about that at utahmarijauana.org/uplift. Again, largest subsidy program in Utah for medical cannabis. I think this is what I would consider finally a good subsidy program that is transparent, that is clear for the requirements to be approved for the system, and has the ability to scale and see hopefully as many patients as need to be seen who are low income terminally ill here in Utah.

Tim Pickett:
So check that out. Utah in the Weeds, download it on any podcast player that you have. My name is Tim Pickett. Enjoy this episode and interview with Shawn Hammond.

Tim Pickett:
Okay, first of all, we're in Salt Lake, we're at the Proper Cannabis Co. headquarters. Is that we call this? What is this place?

Shawn Hammond:
So we're at ... Call it Proper HQ. Right?

Tim Pickett:
Proper HQ.

Shawn Hammond:
Because we've got multiple companies under Proper and we've got a lab, a medical cannabis processing lab here in the state. We can't touch any THC here at this spot.

Tim Pickett:
Okay, will that change?

Shawn Hammond:
No. No. This is zoned for hemp processing, but across the street is okay to be a medical cannabis processor, but right here is not.

Tim Pickett:
What the -

Shawn Hammond:
But that's fine. Because we're working with another license holder to be able to do our processing there.

Tim Pickett:
Okay, so talk about that for a minute. Because you were with Zion as the grower. You're now -

Shawn Hammond:
So yeah, should we just back up?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, I mean okay. I feel like we should because people know you from Zion Farmer and [inaudible 00:05:54] social handle and we had a podcast before and you were involved with Zion and we had a podcast before and you were involved with Zion. So as much as you want to get into that or not, how did you get from there to here?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. Well, yeah. Let's back up and give a little history. I think on our first podcast I have a brief history on how I got into the space. But in 2017, when my partner Mike Madsen and I were leaving the Oregon rec market, we decided to focus on hemp. So we started Proper Hemp Co. The Oregon market early on got really saturated with cultivators, we talked about that.

Tim Pickett:
It's still saturated with cultivators. I mean [inaudible 00:06:42]

Shawn Hammond:
[inaudible 00:06:42]. Yeah, man, I guess it hasn't changed so much, right? They've got a moratorium right now on new licenses.

Tim Pickett:
Oh really?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. They needed it a long time ago. So we decided to focus on the medical side of the hemp plant. My experience growing up in Oregon allowed me to understand the value of CBD. That's where I really first learned about it, because the grower that ... One of my main growers there, she had an inoperable brain tumor that she medicated ... Well, it caused her to have seizures, back up. So she had seizures associated with her brain tumor, and she was all the way off of her pharmaceutical drugs and simply controlled her seizures with a high CBD strain of cannabis. So that was my first real close experience, so I wanted to understand more about that, so I started learning more about the medical side. CBD was newer at that time. Some people had heard of it, most of them hadn't. The farm bill still had not been passed but it looked like it was going to. So we thought it was a good time to pivot into the hemp space and take our brand national.

Shawn Hammond:
So we focused on building a national brand, Proper Hemp Co. We were in early. We were really a science-based company that focused on high end delivery systems, maximizing cannabinoid absorption in the body, and launched and so did everyone else in the U.S. I think too, about two years later.

Tim Pickett:
That sounds like the same time, right? Just as the boom was happening and then the crash.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, I mean in 2018, when the farm bill happened, a bunch of people jumped in. You had farmers jumping in, you had brands jumping in, into a new market, and then it got oversaturated, and COVID happened and now ... At one point, I think they were tracking over 5,000 CBD brands, and now I think over 3,000 have fallen out. So the industry will stabilize but that was our background and when licensing came available to Utah when Prop 2 passed, I and we wanted to apply for a cultivation license.

Tim Pickett:
Well you knew what you were doing. They needed Utahns who knew what they were doing at the time, right?

Shawn Hammond:
That was my thought. I was looking at some other opportunities out of state, in fact out of the country, but I had traveled quite a bit and just really wanted to stay in state. So I put in a cultivation license with the idea of being able to bring proper cannabis here to Utah, and that's the THC side. We didn't get awarded a license and still wanted to try to participate in the Utah market. We wanted to try to get a deal with one of the cultivators or processors to bring Proper here, and that didn't work out at the time, which is fine, because things work out or don't for a reason a lot of times, right? But I did end up working with Zion and was excited to go work in the cannabis space here in Utah and took a position with them to oversee and run their cultivation operation, and that was an awesome experience, to be able to get in here and design and build and be part of creating a new industry and a medical space. I love cultivating flower, I love smoking flower, vaping, whatever.

Tim Pickett:
Right? Whatever the term is right now.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, whatever state I'm in depends on -

Tim Pickett:
Yes, depends on the state you're in. Yes.

Shawn Hammond:
But about just over six months ago, I decided to get back to my dream or idea of really bringing proper cannabis here to Utah. We developed a lot of really cool products with Proper Hemp. Industry-leading, award-winning. We got written up in magazines, we've been in Women's Health and we've got awards sitting there behind you for our branding. So we learned a lot about our customers, because we had a broad customer brace and we took really meticulous data sets on conditions and what people were using our products for and then of course we have the data of which products were selling and we had a large catalog. 20-something SKUs. But we really understand the main things that were driving customers to us. Sleep was a big thing. Pain, anxiety or mental health. Those were kind of really the main three things.

Tim Pickett:
It seems like when you were talking about the hemp side, the CBD side, those are the big ... Mental health pain -

Shawn Hammond:
Those are the same ones that people for cannabis. For medical cannabis.

Tim Pickett:
Yep. And then that translates, you're right. I mean it just translates right over to the THC side, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
I really like those ... You had some curcumin softgels, and I was taking them, I remember we were lifting, and I hurt my back and I was loading up on those things because they were ... They helped.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. They were based on this high end delivery system that I mentioned earlier.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, talk about that now. Like that seems to be Proper's thing.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, so at Proper Cannabis, we really ... We took a science-based approach. Initially in the CBD market, there were a lot of really bad products out there. Mislabeled for one thing and that's a whole different category but even ... Let's talk about products that were labeled and formulated correctly. It started out in the industry with CBD isolate, which the bioavailability is incredibly poor. Not only is the bioavailability poor, the effects are nowhere near what say a full spectrum CBD would provide.

Tim Pickett:
Right. Two things there. Bioavailability is how good your body absorbs a medication or substance. So for example, the bioavailability of an IV drug is almost 100% because you put it right into the system.

Shawn Hammond:
Correct.

Tim Pickett:
But the bioavailability of a drug you take orally can vary so widely.

Shawn Hammond:
Sure.

Tim Pickett:
Like so widely.

Shawn Hammond:
Right. Is it going through first pass metabolisms in the process through your liver -

Tim Pickett:
And it's not really tested in the hemp side, right? Like in the normal drug side in Western pharmaceutical medicine, you take the drug, they test your blood when you take the drug, then they test your blood 15 minutes, 30 minutes.

Shawn Hammond:
Your PK values, [inaudible 00:13:46].

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, all these values of bioavailability and that's not done hardly ... I don't know if it's -

Shawn Hammond:
Not by most.

Tim Pickett:
Not by most, right?

Shawn Hammond:
That's right. But we employed a high-end ... Well let's back up. Let's talk about the difference between isolate and full spectrum.

Tim Pickett:
Oh yes. Yes, because the second thing I was going to talk about was isolating and we have this in THC too, right? You have isolate, you have distillate, you ... Okay, explain that for us.

Shawn Hammond:
So yeah, I kind of want to get into like a history of modern medicine. But before I do that -

Tim Pickett:
All right. I mean you can, you can. We have all day. We'll just split it up. We'll split it up two podcasts.

Shawn Hammond:
Let me just keep it real simple. So science likes to take a compound and isolate the molecule that provides a specific response. Right? That they think ... That's ... System works.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. That is how our medical system works.

Shawn Hammond:
Okay?

Tim Pickett:
Aspirin, ibuprofen.

Shawn Hammond:
Often, that is not the best delivery system because I'll go into plant medicine in a little bit after this, but most of these isolated medicines that your pharmaceutical companies are slightly altered molecules of natural plant medicines. Okay? But the plant -

Tim Pickett:
Aspirin is a good example. It's white willow bark.

Shawn Hammond:
Exactly.

Tim Pickett:
Right? And then we just made it into aspirin.

Shawn Hammond:
Correct.

Tim Pickett:
Van Gogh. He used to be drinking dandelion tea as a diuretic and that's what made the haloes for The Starry, Starry Night.

Shawn Hammond:
See? Plant medicine.

Tim Pickett:
Right? Yeah, plant medicine is the thing.

Shawn Hammond:
That was the thing. And we've gotten away from that. And what we've found, like let's just keep it specific to cannabinoids. An isolated cannabinoid, particularly CBD is what we're talking about, does not provide the same benefit, overall absorption, or experiential benefit as a broad or full spectrum. Meaning a distillate that has other cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids. So -

Tim Pickett:
Even if it's residue. I mean I would say, even if it's residue from the other cannabinoids and terpenoids, it makes a big difference.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, a small amount makes a really big difference, right? So they found out that, "Okay." And it's called the entourage effect. This is easy science, most people listening probably are aware of what the entourage effect is, and you don't get that with an isolate. But you do with full spectrum or broad spectrum. Still you're limited on bioavailability. It's a very thick oil, right, CBD and your body has a hard time absorbing that. So we sought out companies that were doing interesting things in the space and quite frankly that were drug delivery companies for the pharmaceutical industry.

Shawn Hammond:
So we started working with a group that had been doing some really cool research and we licensed their process which is patented to apply to the cannabinoids and what that does is first of all it makes it, number one, water-soluble. And what we create in our lab with the cannabinoids is called a self-assembling colloidal solution. Fancy words, meaning that you're creating a ... I don't want to get too sciencey, but when our SDDS hits an aqueous phase.

Tim Pickett:
Basically when you drop that shit into the water.

Shawn Hammond:
Into water, it will become water-soluble and I showed Tim kind of an experiment -

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, we were downstairs, right? Yeah, you dropped it into the water and most oils, they go down and they'll separate a little and then they kind of rise [inaudible 00:17:54].

Shawn Hammond:
And they'll sit on top, right? If [inaudible 00:17:56].

Tim Pickett:
They go right back to the top. Yeah, they go right back to the top and then they become oil. This is how I keep my ... The noodles from boiling over. I spray some oil on the top of the pot.

Shawn Hammond:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
It stays on the top.

Shawn Hammond:
Well, when you take a cannabinoid, which is an oil-based, and you take an oil-based delivery system like MCT which is common, that's not water-soluble and it's not the most bioavailable. What we do is we create a product that ... Just break it down to the science, it's water-soluble, it stabilizes at under 50 nanometers, and there's published studies in Molecule Magazine, which I was showing you a little bit earlier, that show that our ... The comparison between an MCT-based delivery system versus the self-assembling colloidal solution delivery system results in 4.4 times greater absorption and blood plasma levels.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And when you were dropping it in the water solution, it really ... It doesn't go back up to the top and you didn't even seem to spin it.

Shawn Hammond:
You see it all -

Tim Pickett:
I mean you did spin it to make the point I think, but really it just ... It just hangs out all over the water solution.

Shawn Hammond:
A colloidal solution is a solution that can't be broken down, right? So it took that entire vessel of water and it distributed the cannabinoids completely evenly and it will not separate. Because now it's colloidal.

Tim Pickett:
Now what you're saying is you're not making coffee, you're not changing the water into the cannabinoid solution.

Shawn Hammond:
No, no.

Tim Pickett:
You're breaking down those. You're essentially breaking down those to the smallest point you can so that they absorb body as fast as -

Shawn Hammond:
Into your body. What's your body made of? Water, right?

Tim Pickett:
As fast as and as consistent as possible.

Shawn Hammond:
Yes.

Tim Pickett:
Right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yes.

Tim Pickett:
Which is really what we need. I talked to a patient today. The biggest problem they're having is consistency with the edibles.

Shawn Hammond:
Edibles are a challenge. They're a challenge. It's kind of a funny drug delivery system for a medical market, if you think about it. I don't eat sugar.

Tim Pickett:
It is so much more now. We were thinking about doing it ... And it's the new year, right? We were thinking about doing the whole 30, and I was thinking, "Man, how are you going to do that? There's all this sugar and all these additives and all these gummies." You're going to have to switch the delivery method I guess.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, and that's what we've developed with Proper Cannabis is alternative delivery methods based on what we learned and what we got feedback from our patients in Proper Hemp, so those curcumin softgels, our Proper Relief Softgels, they're nano-emulsified, so they have that technology applied, which is why you can feel them, they work. And they absorb into your body and they do it quickly and they last effectively longer. The relief is longer.

Tim Pickett:
So when you talk about ... They absorb quicker, so you're going to get ... And we were looking at the graphs. I mean based on this article and this research, it's going to absorb into the body at over four times greater bioavailability. So essentially if we switch over to this THC stuff that you're making now that's going to drop ... And when is it? When are we thinking that this stuff is going to be available in Utah?

Shawn Hammond:
So we're going to be launching new products all throughout 2022. So our first product that's coming to market is just a straight THC tincture. The next product that's just awaiting testing is a tincture formulated to help with sleep. And then we've got two topicals that are based on our nano-emulsion formulas that we're going to be introducing hopefully January if again -

Tim Pickett:
If everything goes -

Shawn Hammond:
Testing is ... It takes a minute.

Tim Pickett:
Remind me to bring back up the barriers to entry to bring a product to market as a non-grower, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. For sure.

Tim Pickett:
It's one thing when you had access to this grow, but now Proper is not a grower.

Shawn Hammond:
No.

Tim Pickett:
Okay, but finishing on with this bioavailability, you're going to have a tincture -

Shawn Hammond:
And then we're going to be working on bringing products based on our Proper softgel, or our hemp-based softgels to the THC market. So yeah, it's going to be ... We've already developed them and we've developed them, we've got to get the ability to manufacture them at a -

Tim Pickett:
A little bit more scale, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. We got to scale.

Tim Pickett:
Instead of filling every single capsule yourself and banding it yourself and then putting it all in the bottle, come on.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, there's a lot that goes into the delivery system but the technology has been developed and we're excited to get it launched. The first product, like I said, I don't really eat sugar, so edibles have not really been my thing, but we're bringing a high strength straight delta-9 tincture to the market that's going to provide similar or better results than a lot of your edibles. It's -

Tim Pickett:
But high strength -

Shawn Hammond:
High strength.

Tim Pickett:
Like most of the tinctures out in Utah are 250 milligrams per bottle.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
What do you think is going to be in your bottle?

Shawn Hammond:
So we attempted to launch at 1,500 milligrams per bottle. Test results came at 1,750, which again, I can ... Yeah. Utah testing is interesting.

Tim Pickett:
Should we go back to the Cody James podcast I just released last month? It's okay Cody, we don't hate you, but a couple of times now, your tests have come back a little high maybe.

Shawn Hammond:
Well, and it wasn't him. There's other labs in the state.

Tim Pickett:
No, there's a group. We're just ... It's like Fauci, we need somebody to blame.

Shawn Hammond:
It's interesting. So when you're formulating, you've got to have accurate data. Because all of your data is based on potency and the amount of milligrams per gram of your source material. So you do all of your math and formulations based on that.

Tim Pickett:
Based on your source material.

Shawn Hammond:
And if a C of A comes back saying your source material is at 75% THC, you formulate based on that percentage.

Tim Pickett:
I see.

Shawn Hammond:
Well, if that distillate happens to be 85% THC because your initial test was wrong, now your formulation has more.

Tim Pickett:
Has those -

Shawn Hammond:
So the first bach -

Tim Pickett:
The difference is not necessarily errors. We're just going to say those differences are going to translate all the way down the [inaudible 00:24:50] -

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, and it's funny math, because it's like, "Listen. Here's the amount of liters used," which you can see, "And here is the math."

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. That's all just chemistry and physics.

Shawn Hammond:
I did not generate 190,000 extra grams of THC in my formulation process.

Tim Pickett:
Sure.

Shawn Hammond:
But anyway, so bottom line -

Tim Pickett:
But either way, this is -

Shawn Hammond:
No, this is high strength. I mean a lot of medical patients need a high dose, right?

Tim Pickett:
Well, and the other thing is ... I mean it's probably going to be a pretty good value too because -

Shawn Hammond:
That's the idea. We're formulating it and we don't have control over what pharmacies price products at.

Tim Pickett:
You could sell it a certain but -

Shawn Hammond:
Growers don't have it, processors don't. We intend, we could have a manufacturers recommended sale price, an SRP or whatever, and we would like these to hit the market for $125.00.

Tim Pickett:
I mean you're putting it out there.

Shawn Hammond:
And we're pricing to allow that. Because a lot of medical patients really do require a high dose, and that gets expensive. It gets cost-prohibitive.

Tim Pickett:
The consistency too. If you want patients ... And I talk about this a lot to patients in reducing their inhaled products, just in general, right? Because we're seeing more younger patients use a lot of cannabis and so to me, if I can reduce the amount of inhalation that a patient does over their lifetime by 20%, that's a lot of inflammation that we reduce and potential damage. Because there's plenty of research on smoking weed, but there's not a lot of research on longterm vaping and who knows. Maybe there's another chemical in there that over time will be ... You want less of, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, well you hear the Department of Health? Joints are best, right?

Tim Pickett:
So you've got this ... We talk about microdosing tinctures and then adding inhaled on top of it, and your tincture would be ideal, right? Because you basically have the delta-9 -

Shawn Hammond:
Well I mean you could take whatever dose you want. It's a value-based product that's high quality, all of our products are high quality.

Tim Pickett:
And it doesn't melt together in the bottle, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Right? And it's designed so one dropper full is 50 milligrams. So I don't know, maybe you're a 12 milligram person. Well you take a quarter dropper full. It allows you to really kind of maintain that dosing protocol and -

Tim Pickett:
And if it's absorbing faster and it's more bioavailable than the competing or the other products and you can get it 10 minutes earlier, right? You can get that effect 10 minutes earlier, why wouldn't you want that, right? You take it to have the effect as fast as possible.

Shawn Hammond:
And I do want to clarify, just the initial tinctures that we're putting out, they are not our nano-emulsified products. But they are a higher strength and formulated for condition. The nano-emulsified products we'll be dropping later January, February, March.

Tim Pickett:
And those are going to be the -

Shawn Hammond:
Those are the ones that have the 4x absorption plus.

Tim Pickett:
Got it.

Shawn Hammond:
So these are -

Tim Pickett:
I mean really a lot to look forward to.

Shawn Hammond:
Oh yeah. Kind of the idea ... I mean, a lot of people ... Let's say you smoke, vape your flower in the morning, right? Well, a lot of people don't have time or the ability to vape all day until they get back from work or whatever it may be. This provides kind of that all day predictable help to ... Maybe you're not high, but you're thinking, "Oh, I'm not thinking about smoking a joint. I don't feel- "

Tim Pickett:
Right. I don't think about my pain.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
And those two things, you're home free and you don't ... And then there's the smell and really there's still a stigma around the smell of the flower.

Shawn Hammond:
So we're excited to get that launched. I mentioned we formulate for conditions, right? We don't formulate just to get you high. We formulate for conditions and one of the biggest things that we've talked about is sleep, right? So many people take edibles for sleep. Most people won't take an edible during the day, because of the waves that it comes in, the kind of unpredictability and then when it wears off, you crash out, right? You want to go to sleep. So a lot of people end up taking their edibles at night. We understand that and we developed a tincture that's designed to help you fall asleep. It's not designed to get you high and it won't, if you take it during the day, it's going to put you down, you're going to want to take a nap. And it's formulated with 1,000 milligrams of THC, 1,000 milligrams of CBD, 200 milligrams of CBN, valerian root, lavender and getting back to that natural plant medicine. And it helps you sleep. There's no doubt. We're really excited to get that one launched because we know it's going to serve a large number of patients.

Tim Pickett:
How is it possible, I'm sitting here thinking about formulating these products and how you're going about formulating these products, and maybe you don't even want to answer this because I can imagine that this is pretty hard. But how do you go about formulating a product and testing it in Utah when you can't have THC -

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, you can't. I mean it's a problem.

Tim Pickett:
Right? You've essentially got to be a patient ... If we're going to brainstorm this, you've got to be a patient -

Shawn Hammond:
Let me walk through what I would have to do to test my product in the market, right?

Tim Pickett:
Or on your own, while you're formulating it.

Shawn Hammond:
Well you can't.

Tim Pickett:
Right? There's no legal -

Shawn Hammond:
There's no mechanism inside the law ... See, like with proper hemp, and the good thing is, I have base formulations that I have developed here.

Tim Pickett:
Sure. That you can go from, right?

Shawn Hammond:
So I have -

Tim Pickett:
So you know, and you know how much 10 milligrams of delta-9 makes people feel like, "Okay, that makes some sense." But formulating a CBN, valerian root, lavender product and then having people try it and test it and make sure that you can get all the materials -

Shawn Hammond:
You would have to be doing that out of state, right? You'd have to be doing beta testing out of state.

Tim Pickett:
Out of state.

Shawn Hammond:
So -

Tim Pickett:
But out of state, you're not going to have a license out of state to have it, and to do the testing either.

Shawn Hammond:
No, but we can work in someone's lab there.

Tim Pickett:
You could work in somebody's lab. You see how these little things, like I don't want to get anybody in trouble, but I want to point out that we don't think a lot about these little hiccups that are real problems for people and these businesses.

Shawn Hammond:
So I can tell you how we've also looked at addressing this. I mean this is a problem, right?

Tim Pickett:
Right.

Shawn Hammond:
So we're going to be ... I'll just announce it here, I'm going to be doing a beta test program for my followers for each product release that we do. So prior to releasing, we want to allow ... Get a bit of a database on patients here in Utah that want to be beta testers for us.

Tim Pickett:
For a product.

Shawn Hammond:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Pickett:
So you got a new formulation.

Shawn Hammond:
So yeah. I'm going to put this out on my Instagram, and there will be a link where if you want to sign up as a beta tester, go to this link and let us know what your conditions are. There's a little short questionnaire that you'll fill out and from there we can see, "Okay, Patient A is taking cannabis in this delivery form for these conditions. I think they would be a good fit to beta test this product." Right? If you've got insomnia, that's your primary reason for utilizing cannabis, "Okay, well let's have you beta test our sleep product. Then you can give us your feedback on taste and texture and experience."

Shawn Hammond:
So the cool thing about being a small little craft brand like this is we've got the ability to move and shake and do that type of thing. So we want to get that feedback and we will ... If we need to alter our formulas, we can do it based on feedback of patients. Or if we need to create new formulas. So that's kind of how we're trying to address it and the idea being, "Okay, you signed up as a beta tester. Go to this pharmacy here and you can go pick up your deeply, deeply discounted product."

Tim Pickett:
And then your responsibility is to give us feedback on how this worked.

Shawn Hammond:
You give us the feedback and if you don't give us the feedback, then you're out of the program.

Tim Pickett:
Then you're out of the program.

Shawn Hammond:
And you will never beta test for us again.

Tim Pickett:
No, but I think that a lot of people would be very interested to do that, especially in a small market like Utah where they could maybe make a difference on, "Wow, that sleep formulation was really strong. I was a little groggy in the morning when I took this much." Essentially you could give the pharmacies, you could give QMPs, you could give -

Shawn Hammond:
Here's data.

Tim Pickett:
The public, right? Here's a little bit of feedback on -

Shawn Hammond:
That's kind of the idea. So there are challenges.

Tim Pickett:
We need to do more of that type of stuff. But how do you even source? We talked about this a little bit before. Like how do you even source your material? Because you have to work under a ... You have a Tier 2 license? Tier 1?

Shawn Hammond:
We're working under a Tier 1.

Tim Pickett:
You're working under a Tier 1. So somebody could come in, so Proper Cannabis can come in, they can work under a Tier 1, make an agreement with the Tier 1 license holder. That's the one that you've got to pay $100,000.00 for the application, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Correct. Then you have to get material.

Tim Pickett:
Well then they have to get the material technically, but it's you paying for it.

Shawn Hammond:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right?

Shawn Hammond:
Correct.

Tim Pickett:
But you got to go ... How do they do that? Because they're not ... Not all of the processors are growers.

Shawn Hammond:
No, and it's a challenge. Utah, I mean there are always unintended consequences I think when programs are devised and then administered.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, the QMP program is ... Like I totally get it. I totally get it. But from the grower, right? You decided on ten licenses, you ended up issuing eight. You then have an unlimited number of $100,000.00 licenses that can be purchased, right? And there's been, I don't know, a handful of those purchased. There's got to be five, six, don't you think? At least five or six of those. So now you have 13 to 15 companies who can process, but eight of those can grow.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, so that's the challenge, if you're not vertical, when you don't control the source for the material.

Tim Pickett:
Oh yeah, this is besides the fact that not all of those eight have retail.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right? There's only two or three that have ... Four.

Shawn Hammond:
Three or four now I think, yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Three or four maybe now.

Shawn Hammond:
So it's a unique market, but I can tell you the price of raw materials, if you can get it, and for people that don't know how products are made, when flower is grown, if it's a high enough quality flower, then it should be sold as flower but then you have a lot of residual material, your trim, which typically in most markets, in most states, that's what you're utilizing to create distillate.

Tim Pickett:
And trim is going to be the leaves, not the main -

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, your sugar leaf. No, just the sugar leaf.

Tim Pickett:
Just the sugar leaf, not the fan leaf.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, because you want ... Yeah, you don't want the fan leaves, they don't have cannabinoids.

Tim Pickett:
Got it.

Shawn Hammond:
But most of the trim here has fan leaves and everything which ultimately reduces your total THC content by weight.

Tim Pickett:
Do you think that's because ... I mean this is kind of an opinion, I don't know. I mean do you think that over time, the trim will get better, because they'll learn how to grow it better? Or do you think it's just kind of a function of the market.

Shawn Hammond:
A lot of is not necessarily function in growing, but in harvesting and processing or ... Part of it is growing, because indoor [inaudible 00:37:32] deleafing a lot, you're pulling off a lot of those big fan leaves that don't have cannabinoids. Outdoor which is greenhouse, you don't manicure as much, at least most here because of the size or mass. So they harvest the plant, chop it down, grind it up and there's your biomass. But in most states, in most markets, trim costs anywhere from $50.00 a pound to $150.00 for good trim. And in here, Utah, it can cost 10x that. So you start ... You can buy pounds of good flower in other states cheaper than you can buy trim here to process.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, okay, now ... And it's these types of things that -

Shawn Hammond:
And it requires a certain amount of weight of trim to produce a liter of distillate.

Tim Pickett:
To produce. Yep.

Shawn Hammond:
So maybe one of the unintended consequences that gets slammed down to patients is the fact that if you're not vertical, you're buying really expensive trims or distillate to blow down just because it's the cost of goods sold, all the way up the chain.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Do you feel like ... I mean, and even if the legislature looks at a solution to this problem, increasing the number of growers I'm sure would be one solution, allowing -

Shawn Hammond:
I think what they ought to do, I mean here's something to throw out, kick around, they won't, but you mentioned they are going to do eight licenses or they were going to do 10 but they issued eight?

Tim Pickett:
But they issued eight.

Shawn Hammond:
Those were 100,000 square foot licenses. Take one of those next licenses, that ninth license. Break it up into 10 or 20 licenses. Little micro grows, little craft grows to allow mom and pop or some other smaller companies to come in and do this.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And not do it at that big a scale, do it on the craft type thing, right?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. I mean you don't need 100,000. Not everyone needs 100,000 square feet. I'd be stoked. Have a 2,500 square foot of canopy growth.

Tim Pickett:
Well I don't think there is 800,000 square feet of cannabis being grown in Utah now. [inaudible 00:39:51].

Shawn Hammond:
But if it is, it's mostly going to be outdoor, right?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Of course.

Shawn Hammond:
I mean so just think of the logistics, the economics of it. People, to build out indoor grow, it's really expensive for a small amount of square footage. So I don't know. It would open things up for patients, it would allow smaller brands and other brands to come into the market.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, with different motives. It's a really interesting idea. Definitely won't go anywhere though [inaudible 00:40:20].

Shawn Hammond:
Definitely won't go anywhere. [inaudible 00:40:23] first in line to resubmit the same application I did three years ago because I called out all these problems in my application.

Tim Pickett:
About this type of -

Shawn Hammond:
About the program in general.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, program.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
When you try to force certain things, it's just ... And you know, I mean they'll probably admit it when they're doing it. I can't imagine they wouldn't be willing to admit, like, "Look, we're going to do the best we can now and we don't know every single thing that this is going to bring up that's good and bad, but we think this is a good start and here we go." Do I think that happened? Sure.

Shawn Hammond:
And I look at it from the state's point of view. Okay, we have to administer this program. It's a lot easier for us to administer eight -

Tim Pickett:
Eight people.

Shawn Hammond:
Eight operations than 40. Okay.

Tim Pickett:
In the beginning, definitely was a consideration I'm sure.

Shawn Hammond:
But the unintended consequences are source material costs and 10x what it does in other markets.

Tim Pickett:
In other markets. Yeah, and then that just really translates right to price.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, it has to.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. There's no way around it. And because the initial cost of the tier licenses too.

Shawn Hammond:
Oh you've got processors that all spent millions of dollars, buying the license, getting the equipment to process and then unless they were awarded a cultivation license, now their probably main job is trying to source material.

Tim Pickett:
Yep. Yeah, well we've talked to them too, and it is the hardest ... I guess it's the most consistent problem you have in Utah right now as a processor which is getting source material. I mean maybe even Dragonfly and Wholesome would say the same thing. Their main problem is getting source material because they can't grow it fast enough.

Shawn Hammond:
I don't know, I think Dragonfly grew almost 50,000 pounds last year. That's a lot of weight.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, and I went up to ... I did visit [inaudible 00:42:28] Northern Utah, and I don't know if I have permission to say the name of where I went, but there was 50,000 pounds of flower up there, getting ready to be turned into distillate. So they are definitely growing a lot of -

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, but they can turn their own flower and their own trim into distillate, right?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, they were doing that right there in the room.

Shawn Hammond:
So that's the advantage. And if I, again, if I was the state, I would probably ... If I was going to open up cultivation, I'd probably open it up to Tier 1 processors first so they could provide their own source. I mean that doesn't help me because I don't have a Tier 1 processor.

Tim Pickett:
Sure. That's like -

Shawn Hammond:
But I mean for fairness for the market to really kind of help. But it'll -

Tim Pickett:
Sure. They would be the quickest to market anyway.

Shawn Hammond:
I suppose it will balance out. Free markets generally do, right?

Tim Pickett:
So did this ... Back to talking about work. Does this take a lot more time than it was growing? Or was it just a -

Shawn Hammond:
It was really busy initially, getting things.

Tim Pickett:
You were down there all the time.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. I mean when you're doing managing and build-out in a couple of different locations.

Tim Pickett:
I mean I remember we were ... This was back before COVID times.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. And then COVID happened.

Tim Pickett:
When we were lifting weights and you were never there at the end because you were always driving all over the valley to build the grow-out.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. So I wouldn't say I'm more busy. I'm just busy doing different things.

Tim Pickett:
When was the last time you picked up a bar bell?

Shawn Hammond:
Two months ago probably.

Tim Pickett:
And just to move it back on the rack or what?

Shawn Hammond:
That was pretty impressive. I don't know, my daughter posted [inaudible 00:44:16] workout.

Tim Pickett:
Your daughter posts some crazy workouts. She's lifting her brains out.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, she's getting really, really strong. Yeah, she's ... She's a competitive weightlifting athlete. She's strong. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You've got Chloe ... Chloe's always like, "I've got to get as strong as Mia."

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, she just ... We do Olympic weightlifting, so people probably wouldn't relate to that, but my little 120-pound daughter just deadlifted 285, her max I think [inaudible 00:44:49]. That's pretty good for a little girl.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Right? Yeah. Olympic weightlifting. I have been so struggling, trying to get some consistency, right? I can do three days in a week and then it's two weeks before I -

Shawn Hammond:
Well and I shut down my gym so now I don't have a place to go as easy.

Tim Pickett:
It's harder to go when you don't have other people to go see. Even though the social aspect of the gym I feel like is made up by the lifter. Like if you go to the gym, tell me if I'm wrong. You go to the gym at the same time every day because you've got these people that you get to know at the gym. Whether it's CrossFit or EOS, wherever you go.

Shawn Hammond:
Oh yeah. Sure.

Tim Pickett:
The Olympic gym. And you think, you get this in your subconscious mind, that they, they expect you to come, right? That they're rooting for you.

Shawn Hammond:
There's accountability, right?

Tim Pickett:
There's accountability. But that is legit made-up, right? These people, they do care.

Shawn Hammond:
They don't care.

Tim Pickett:
But that's not the reason why they're going.

Shawn Hammond:
Now your coach would care.

Tim Pickett:
They're going because they think you care.

Shawn Hammond:
Right. If you got a coach and he's sitting there waiting for you at the gym -

Tim Pickett:
Oh now, that is ... Yes, you've added a whole nother layer to Olympic lifting specifically too. Don't get as much done without a coach in Olympic lifting.

Shawn Hammond:
Yep.

Tim Pickett:
So those of you out there who want to try a new sport, Olympic lifting, Shawn Hammond and Tim Pickett, our vote is you give it a try.

Shawn Hammond:
Do it.

Tim Pickett:
Do it.

Shawn Hammond:
Do it.

Tim Pickett:
No matter how old you are.

Shawn Hammond:
Oh, it's great for mobility and strength and all of that. Especially for dudes our age. Even though you're a lot younger than me, I can't say our age.

Tim Pickett:
Our age.

Shawn Hammond:
Okay. My age.

Tim Pickett:
It's fine, it's fine. I feel so old. I mean I started wearing readers. Okay, what's your favorite strain? We can wrap this up. What's your favorite strain right now? And I think you might have to say what your favorite strain ... What's your favorite Utah strain.

Shawn Hammond:
Well, I don't know. So I've been traveling and doing some work with some breeder friends and in doing that I've got to test a lot of new flavors that aren't out anywhere yet. So my favorite strain right now is [inaudible 00:47:16] from Umami. That's fire, that's got some old school grape terps, with some kind of creamy gas along with it. So yeah. I've been helping do some [inaudible 00:47:34] hunting and testing and tasting outside of Utah.

Tim Pickett:
Right? Because that's where it has to be done. But fun. That just sounds like fun.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, yeah. And I'd love to be able to grow some flower here in Utah again some time. We'll see if that happens or not, but if we do, man, we are going to have some incredible flavors. Absolutely proprietary, proper flower that won't be anyone else.

Tim Pickett:
Always, we can always look forward to it.

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's exciting. But like I said, I'm excited just to be back in the Utah market, getting our brand launched. It's been a dream, we've been working on this. We came from the cannabis space, we developed our processes and companies and products in the hemp space but we really wanted to get back into our original love which is cannabis and launching the brand, Proper Cannabis Co. here in the state, so ...

Tim Pickett:
Where is it located on social? Do you just want people to hook up with you on, with your social handle?

Shawn Hammond:
Yeah, let's see. So I'm properpharmer.

Tim Pickett:
Properpharmer.

Shawn Hammond:
P-R-O-P-E-R-P-H-A-R-M-E-R. So properpharmer and I'll be making some announcements and some posts and getting back active on Instagram. I haven't been active for -

Tim Pickett:
A little while?

Shawn Hammond:
Six months or so.

Tim Pickett:
Right? But it's time.

Shawn Hammond:
It's time. I've just had my head down working, grinding, trying to get things ready to go. Now they're ready to go in 2022, we get to go pop off, man. Excited.

Tim Pickett:
All right. Well Happy New Year. It was good talking to you.

Shawn Hammond:
Happy New Year. Good to see you again, Tim.

Tim Pickett:
Stay safe out there.

Shawn Hammond:
Peace.

 

 

By UtahMarijuana.org
Published January 20, 2022
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