Building One Of The Most Successful Cannabis Brands In California
"The importance of investing purposefully is one of the most valuable lessons I learned before entering the cannabis industry."
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A market that I have become very focused on over the past 4 months is California.
With a population of over 39 million people and climbing, California is not only the largest cannabis market in the world — it was also the first state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes back in 1996 with the passing of the Compassionate Use Act.
When California legalized cannabis for adult-use purposes in 2016, it was clear that this was a market worth winning in, however, cannabis companies face intense competition as each bids to capture market share in this hyper-competitive market.
For today’s edition of Four PM, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cameron Clarke who is the Co-founder & CEO of Sunderstorm — one of the most successful cannabis companies in California.
While Sunderstorm has created a number of brands, Kanha is their most popular brand with it being widely recognized as one of the top edible brands in the U.S
Cameron Clarke is the Co-founder & CEO of Sunderstorm, in addition to having Co-founded Berkley Biolabs, The Blue Nomad Foundation plus many more.
What motivated you to join the cannabis industry?
After spending some time in the Amazon and traveling around the world learning about plant medicines, I realized that all of the work that I had done in my life up until 2014 made me a great fit for the cannabis industry.
When it became clear that California was moving in the direction to create an adult-use market I made the decision to start a business in the industry to help as many people benefit from cannabis as possible.
Understandably there's still a lot of stigma surrounding cannabis and I wanted to play a role in helping to educate consumers about this powerful plant.
That’s why I started Sunderstorm.
What skills did you learn in other industries that you have been able to apply to cannabis?
My failures earlier in life have helped me tremendously as cannabis is by far the most complex industry that I have ever worked in.
It has taken every bit of brainpower and energy to make sure that we are doing things right from the beginning including investing in areas that would allow us to scale our operations.
There have been many companies that have raised large sums of money and didn’t invest this capital wisely. I feel like this is an area where we have performed very well. As a result, we are now one of the few profitable companies in the industry.
The importance of investing purposefully is one of the most valuable lessons I learned before entering the cannabis industry.
What are the biggest changes that you’ve seen in the California cannabis market?
The industry in California has done a great job at evolving from the Wild West to producing the best cannabis products in the world with many different types of formats for different types of consumers.
We came out of a world where a manufacturer could create any type of product and it would likely be purchased by a consumer.
In the beginning, brands didn’t have to be all that focused on consistency or the overall quality of the products. In California, that has definitely changed and is an important evolution of this industry. There has been an increased expectation for greater product consistency and product quality as a result of the increased competition in the market.
It has taken many years but we are now seeing the development of real brands with great shopping experiences and beautiful packaging.
What has you most excited about the future of cannabis?
We are entering an entirely new place in the industry as cannabis continues to gain mainstream acceptance. This will have a tremendous benefit for many communities around the world.
Having seen how plant medicines are used around the world, it’s encouraging to see cannabis opening up this same door in the Western culture as our society begins to understand the benefits of these plants, including cannabis and beyond.
The ability for cannabis to heal our communities by driving social consciousness and opening our hearts to deeper discussions and improved communication is invaluable.
Did you gain value from reading this edition of Four PM?