Beard Bros. Media was officially launched in April of 2018 when Bill and Jeff of Beard Bros. Pharms dedicated substantial time and resources to the creation of a truly grassroots cannabis education and news platform that would appeal not only to the OGs but to the curious crop of cannabis consumers wading into legal weed in new markets across the country.
2018 was the year that everything changed in California cannabis. Prop 64 was passed by voters in November of 2016, but it took nearly two years for the state’s rickety regulatory framework to reveal itself and legacy operators were faced with many high-stakes decisions. Many of us saw the writing on the wall and anticipated a flawed system, but little did we know how bad it would be.
It was clear from the jump that state-sanctioned license stacking was going to tilt the playing field in favor of corporate cannabis entities with enough capital to meet the incredibly high cost of entry into the regulated market, a market that the state predicted would provide a billion dollars in tax revenue back to Sacramento in its first year.
That first part is true – the playing field is absolutely tilted – but actual tax revenues have failed to come anywhere close to predictions in years one or two here in California as the “traditional” (and un-taxed) street market continues to thrive by filling the many gaps left by legalization.
Throughout the waning years of the Prop 215-era here in Cali, Beard Bros. Pharms had earned a reputation for producing some of the highest quality indoor cannabis in Southern California and their products graced the shelves of the highest-trafficked dispensaries up and down the state. Unable to afford the skyhigh cost and uncertainty of a cultivation license in Los Angeles and unwilling to take on the risks presented by the new laws by operating an unpermitted grow, the Bros. were faced with one of those high-stakes decisions like so many of their Prop 215-era peers.
THE ART OF THE PIVOT
Another revered California cannabis farmer who had to hang it up in 2018 was one of Bill and Jeff’s best friends, Fabian of TG Genetics. Like the Beard Bros., Fab had worked tirelessly in recent years to put himself in a position to succeed in recreational weed, but he too saw the clusterfuck for what it was and wisely made a pivot of his own into grassroots media – the Propagating Purpose podcast was born and the pilot episode launched in late 2018.
Oozing authenticity, Fabian has steadily earned his spot as the literal voice for the hands-in-the-dirt cannabis culture with his work on Propagating Purpose and with his inspirational videos on Instagram.
Now 25 full episodes into his new purpose, it’s ironic but Bill and Jeff were meant to be Fabian’s first guests on the podcast over a year ago, but a 10-hour drive between their respective homes and a turbulent 2019 for all three men kept their orbits uncrossed… until now.
Episode 25 of Propagating Purpose is aptly titled “The Art of the Pivot” and Bill and Jeff Levers of Beard Bros. Pharms and Beard Bros. Media sit down for a full two hours with Fabian to discuss their past, their own pivot, and their predictions for what’s to come.
You can listen to the full episode HERE
Below are some relevant timestamps from the episode and some thoughts on those portions of this incredibly insightful discussion that may just redefine the term ‘real talk’.
“THERE IS NO SOP FOR CULTURE”
8:00 – After some introductions, Bill and Jeff jump right into the decision to give up the pursuit of a cultivation license and instead focus on bolstering the Beard Bros. Pharms brand through in-house media coverage and content creation. They laugh with Fabian about the fact that their ascension in the cannabis media space at times overshadows the years of high caliber cultivation at the root of their reputations, but it brings up a very important point for other legacy operators who spent years building a brand but now may feel lost in the mix. Stay relevant by providing value in some way, shape, or form under the banner of the brand you worked so hard on. Activism, advocating, lobbying, or putting your own spin on weed media, there are so many ways to not only maintain your reputation but to strengthen it. “People listen because we’ve paid our dues,” Fabian sums up succinctly.
14:30 – This is such crucial info from the Bros. about the importance of creating a brand, and what a ‘brand’ actually is. As Bill points out, it was either that or be destined to a life of watering the plants for somebody who did build a brand. Read that again.
18:30 – MJ BizCon discussion leads eventually to a smart comparison made between that event and the industry it allegedly caters to and how they try to put on a corporate façade but eventually it all gets overrun by real heads who conduct their best business meetings with a lit joint (or two) going around.
24:20 – Jeff talks about how cannabis has always been inclusive but that Prop 64 instead drives us all apart. He also points out that by making the regulated market so exclusive, it incentivizes bad actors to capitalize off of the consumer confusion bred by flawed laws.
36:00 – Bill brings up such an important point that it is unfair for society to expect cannabis to solve all of the woes brought upon it by other failures in the system, such as the opioid crisis. “It’s not a lottery ticket for your states, it’s compassion for your citizens,” Bill laments.
42:00 – Follow the money to the root of the problems with Prop 64.
1:00:00 – Is the east coast cannabis movement more “grassroots” than what’s happening out west these days? The dudes discuss…
1:04:00 – The world needs cannabis now more than ever… but Fabian says he needs no more Beard Bros. Pharms Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil for a while! Stay awake though buds, we still have an hour to go!
1:10:00 – The Bros. get back into branding and the decision to expand into media. While corporate cannabis carpetbaggers burnt through capital in 2019 buying shelf space and fabricating their ethos, the way that Bill and Jeff kept their brand relevant was by providing value in new ways. You can too!
1:17:00 – What might federal legalization look like in the United States and what role might the legacy operators in California play who planted the seed for it all to begin with? Also, what can we each do as individuals to help shape local, state, and national politics regarding cannabis reform?
1:24:00 – How we win.
1:35:00 – Jeff describes the disconnect between where people want their brand to be and any sort of viable path from the state to get there.
1:45:00 – Who inspires Beard Bros. Pharms?
1:47:00 – Marijuana going mainstream and how “cannabis conversions” only go one direction.
1:50:00 – Life advice from the Beard Bros.
ALWAYS DANK, NEVER SPAM
No matter what your relationship with the cannabis plant may be – from curious skeptics to seasoned heads – everyone can benefit from this epic episode from three of our culture’s most real motherfuckers. If you are new to Propagating Purpose, be sure to bookmark the website and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or you can grab it on Stitcher, Google Play, or on Spotify. Also be sure to follow @tg_genetics__ on Instagram for the latest updates on The Coalition, a collaborative effort to reclaim what’s rightfully ours. Thank you for supporting authentic grassroots cannabis media in all of its forms.