Everett Smith – Co-founder & CEO of Presidential Cannabis. “We are 1 of the largest infused flower companies in California. Fully compliant with California cannabis regulations for cultivating, manufacturing, and distribution of a brand. Currently in over 240+ retail locations in California. As of May 1, 2021 Presidential is the 3rd largest infused Preroll Brand in California, we currently have the number 1 selling infused Blunt in the California market, as well as being the number 1 Moon Rocks brand in California! (According to BDSA Analytics and Leaflink Insights.)”
“I am a college graduate and a retired professional basketball player. I’ve consulted in the cannabis industry for the last 8 years specializing in brand development, strategic marketing, market-specific brand analysis, media and packaging design, regulatory compliance, vendor procurement, and quality to scale with the introduction of a brand. I have Negotiated key service, packaging, and distribution contracts. Currently negotiating licensing agreements in multiple US states.”
When did you formally enter the cannabis space?
I formally entered the Cannabis space in 2013 in the California medical market. We officially launched for adult use in October 2018.
What made you decide to work in the cannabis industry?
Pure chance! I met someone in 2012 who was talking to me about starting a cannabis business in California. I had just retired from playing professional basketball in Europe and wanted to do something exciting other than working a regular 9-5, so I hopped on the opportunity and it has been the absolute best decision I have made for myself.
Do you feel there is more opportunity for Black Americans in the cannabis industry versus a more traditional industry? Yes or no and why?
While the opportunity for Black Americans to get involved with the cannabis industry is improving, there is still not nearly enough, and once we do get involved, there aren’t many programs to help us succeed. We need to teach each other the fundamentals and pitfalls of the cannabis industry. I had to go to the school of Hard Knocks and learn on the job by repeatedly bumping my head over and over. Luckily I had a good mentor and business partner in John Zapp to help guide us through the hurdles we have encountered. I feel there is a lot of support in public and on social media for Black and Brown inclusion, but the numbers don’t seem to add up in terms of actual opportunities and financial support.
What is the most successful social equity effort in your opinion? Can be a charity or company program.
I’m not sure you can count any of them as successful yet. I mean that respectfully, and don’t want to disregard anyone on the frontline trying to further the cause for Black and Brown inclusion. However, we still don’t have the inclusion and participation we should have. I have personal experience with the city of Los Angeles social equity program and it’s not set up for success. From what I can tell it seems that the city of Oakland has done, or is doing, a decent job with its social equity programs. A lot of the Black-owned businesses in the California sector seem to be coming out of incubators in Oakland. I am not in the mix in Oakland to see what the true problems are, but like I said from my view, in comparison with Los Angeles, they seem to be further ahead in terms of their programs.
What is your personal goal for 2022?
My personal goal for Presidential is to expand east. Our goal is to launch in four new states this year. This, along with expanding our product line and continuing to collaborate with the best growers and manufacturers to turn the best products into quality MoonRocks!