Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Health Benefits of Cannabinoids with David Miller

George Grombacher August 23, 2023

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Health Benefits of Cannabinoids with David Miller

LifeBlood: We talked about the health benefits of cannabinoids, the regulatory challenges of cannabis, the importance of consumer education, and how to create consistent products, with David Miller, CoOwner of FlowGardens, a premium cannabis producer.      

Listen to learn the health and wellness benefits of cannabis!

You can learn more about David at FlowGardens.com, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

David Miller

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
David Miller is the owner of Flo gardens. It’s an indoor cannabis flower grower producing premium cannabis products that you can trust. David, excited to have you on. Tell us a little about your personal life more about your work and why you do what you do.

David Miller 0:18
Personal George, thanks for having us on. Pleasure to be on here and talk with all your entrepreneurial minded listeners. And it gets let’s get started a little background. Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, went to University of Tennessee, started my career in finance. And kind of an interesting little story. I was graduated a year early. So my junior slash senior year, I managed money for Tennessee Valley Authority. And me and another colleague had convinced Warren Buffett to buy a company and Knoxville Clayton home CMH. So I got really, really jazzed about the financial industry, and ended up moving to Atlanta after I graduated and worked for corporate America American Express for five years. And during the financial crisis. I was, I guess, was kind of a blessing in disguise, I didn’t disguise and really know we were going through a financial crisis at the time, but that’s when I decided to start my own financial business and accounting business. And so had that for about 15 years. We’re the fastest growing financial company in America 122 Overall, and 20, either 16 or 17 and exited in 2022. And, you know, in tandem, we bought into flow gardens are three owners now, about a year or two before I left my financial farm. And that’s how I got where I am today at a beautiful wife, Suzanne, mixed blended family, my cousin slash daughter, and then three boys, ranging from the ages of 20, almost 20 to 1312 and eight.

george grombacher 2:16
Nice. So you said that’s how you get to where you are today. But I’m still missing the link between the accounting biz to cannabis because it’s not obvious to me.

David Miller 2:28
Yeah, I probably should have provided that detail. Thank you, George. So about a couple. So I hired a president two years before I sold my company company internally and left. And it was to about that time, I was looking at losing the passion and losing the passion for what I was doing. And I took a hard look at myself, and where did I want to be in the next 1020 years. And I dawned on me, it’s like I was really, really good at finance, in numbers, but I didn’t really have a passion around it. So I was great at making money. And I learned a lot I had a lot of business success in building my company. But like, okay, well what do you want to do, David, what do you love? What’s your passion around? Like, let’s, let’s just make a make a 180. And I chose cannabis. And I did that because I believe in health and I believe in happiness, which is our company’s purpose cultivating health and happiness. And my personal story was my best friend got stage four colon cancer in his early 20s fought it for quite a bit of time and passed. Before he was four. He’s 30. I saw I saw how cannabis helped him. So that was very material catalyst for in addition to some PTSD and mental health issues, you know, within the in our family. So yeah, that’s that’s how I made made the big change.

george grombacher 4:04
Got it. So you have two co owners and I believe that one or both have cannabis experience. And the idea is that you are the business know how combining powers.

David Miller 4:19
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Our founder of Logan’s Eric Melzer, he’s just a brilliant, German minded creative. So he’s got that logician mind and also that that creativity, and it’s, he’s been growing for, I believe, about 29 years. He worked for a publicly traded subsidiary of a cannabis Canadian company. And he started flow gardens in 2020, right in the heart of COVID. And we built out an r&d facility. We have around 15,000 square feet of indoor hydroponic cultivation. We won the High Times Cup last year, first place this year, second place, and then the coveted Emerald Cup. And then we’ll try and go in California. We got first place in that last year, and then also second place this year as well.

george grombacher 5:16
Awesome. All right. So challenges and opportunities, certainly within the financial world, there’s plenty of compliance challenges and opportunities. And you were in the accounting world, but I don’t know maybe you were doing more diversified financial services, a cannabis world, there are lots of different ways to do it, which which tell us a little bit about how you’re actually tell us tell us about the business of flow gardens.

David Miller 5:43
So the the business of flow gardens, we’re a b2c company, we have an online store, we also sell to high end hem shops are flour about, you know, a 90% plus of our product is premium quality flour, as opposed to like extracts or other other things. So that’s that’s what our business model is, is direct to consumer. As far as navigating the challenges in the business, the largest one that we have right now is, is the amalgamation of all of these different municipal and federal laws that are that are constantly changing on the state and federal level, and sometimes even locally. And that’s been that was very beneficial or serendipitous for me coming from a financial background where the regulatory compliance is, is pretty high. So just keeping up to date with like the Farm Bill, the 2018 Farm Bill, it’s updated every five years here in September, that’s going to be a big piece to how we may even have to materially adjust our business model how and when it’s going to legalize in our home state of Tennessee, and just navigating the USDA Department of Ag. In addition to the local Tennessee Department of Ag, it’s certainly a juggling act at times it feels like

george grombacher 7:16
is is is cannabis is legal in in Tennessee.

David Miller 7:24
That is actually a really good question. And the biggest thing that we’re trying to do that we’re doing is, is advocating consumer education because people will say is cannabis legal? The answer to that is cannabis is legal in all 50 states. It’s how the government defines cannabis. So you have cannabis kind of at the top. And then if it were to splice off, you have marijuana and then you have hemp. So marijuana has over point 3% tetrahydrocannabinol the THC and then hemp has less than point 3% So cannabis is cannabis. It’s just it’s just the genetics of the plant and the components thereof that differentiate the two. Got it?

george grombacher 8:04
Okay, so is recreational marijuana illegal in Tennessee?

David Miller 8:07
It is not sorry to answer your question, George. It’s it’s not legal.

george grombacher 8:11
And what about medical use? It is not okay. Yet you’re fine doing business.

David Miller 8:18
Yep, so we are selling our cannabis flower that has under point 3% thc Delta nine. And that’s that’s actually been a blessing in disguise as being a real r&d facility. We have been able to expand and deepen our genetics that we’ve our enhanced crosses of plants that we’ve created with alternative cannabinoids. It’s everybody’s familiar with the THC. That’s the psychoactive substance in cannabis. But a lot of people aren’t familiar with the other alternative cannabinoids that have a ton of health benefits. And that’s the CBD is probably the one that most people know about. But there’s also CBC, CBG, CBD, V A bunch of a bunch of others, and those help fight cancer and a lot of cases and some preliminary studies have come out and help with anxiety and you know, a host of other items.

george grombacher 9:15
Fascinating. So 15,000 square feet. Is that is that new? Is that what you’ve always had when you got to 15,000 were like holy cow. How are we ever going to use this and now we’re like, oh my gosh, we should about 30

David Miller 9:30
Well, we we started Brick by Brick Eric started brick by brick and started with just one room and we bought an old empty, moved into an old empty drugstore completely gutted. And now we have a high end hydroponic facility with you know, seven rooms and in one building, we’re expanding another 5000 square feet as we speak. We have a lab there as well and we also one of our other shareholders. As Another pro is on 8000 Square feet, as facility we have.

george grombacher 10:05
Nice. So you could tell me if if my analogy is sound or if I’m way off base. When I think about beer, people always will disparage the big beer makers like Bud Lights of the world and Coors Light. And I always say, hey, you need to give them credit because they make massive quantities of this beer and it all tastes exactly the same. So you need to at least, you might not like it, but you have to respect the quality and the consistency of it. How do you think about that?

David Miller 10:38
Relative to the commercialization of cannabis, cannabis? Yeah. I think cannabis is in the infancy stage. You know, Colorado was kind of the big landmark state that legalized right after California that kind of started this whole waterfall of states legalizing. So whenever you look at beer, it’s been around for a long time. And they’ve been able to test these formulas and, you know, do all this research, and it’s the genetics simply aren’t well understood in the cannabis industry. And when you look at how do you formulate a beer, if you translate that to cannabis, how do you formulate cannabis, it comes down to what are the different cannabinoids and they’re the THC, the CBD CBG that I mentioned. And also, to make it more complex relative to beer, you know, you have terpenes in it, yes, you could kind of compare it to hops. So there are a lot of different terpenes in beer like beta caryophyllene that they find in Pepper myrcene that they find in mangoes. Line of law that’s in lavender. And there’s tons and tons of different terpenes tons of different cannabinoids. So finding the right formula, and how that helps each person on an individual level differs as opposed to if you drink a miller lighter, if you drink a Bud Light, it’s going to have a similar effect. And probably don’t want to say that Miller Lite or Bud Light and may disagree. But as opposed to cannabis, there are so many different medicinal benefits were clearly alcohol is not a medicinal substance, although they alcohol and marijuana are both used recreationally. But when it comes to medicinal use and actually helping and facilitating people’s health, then we feel like to give you the the short answer to that long response that I had. You know, we promote people that have the have commercialized began to commercialize marijuana. I think there’s certainly a place for that probably more so in the rec space. But when it comes to medicinal, we’re just we’re not really competing against them. Got it.

george grombacher 12:53
Nice. All right. So we talked about your friend, certainly rest in peace that developed colon cancer in his 20s and passed away but was helped by by cannabis. So it has the ability to help people who are struggling with illness, but then also a proactive sort of a wellness aspect as well.

David Miller 13:19
Yeah, Britain, what was his name, and so he started using us buying it, obviously, illegally. And, you know, not only did it help his appetite during his chemo, not only did it help with his pain, but he had stage four, it went into remission after a couple years, and we don’t have any testing or proof saying that cannabis did that. But just those three items, the pain, the eating, and just the high likelihood we believe it changed him into going into remission. That’s that kind of speaks for itself as far as where my passion originates from. Yeah, yeah. There’s

george grombacher 14:08
no doubt about that. So from the website, you you create hydroponic flower, pre rolls, living soil flower concentrates. gummies. Is that the scope of it is are there more?

David Miller 14:27
Yeah, that pretty much hits everything I said about 89% of what we sell is high quality premium flower. And that’s that’s our focus.

george grombacher 14:37
Got it. Okay. And the height, the flower itself, people buy that directly and then what do they do with it?

David Miller 14:49
Yet so they have go online to our website and they just buy a canister, depending on what type of strain they want and what type of size and they ordered and we ship it to them and they get it in a couple of days USPS, and they can consume it, they can turn it into edibles, they can, you know, vaporize it, they can smoke it, consume it however they wish.

george grombacher 15:19
Got it. And same thing with your wholesale. So you send storefronts for lack of a better term large quantities and then they distribute directly or do they repurpose it.

David Miller 15:32
So we’ll send it to them, ideally, and our jars, that’s how we typically do it. There are a couple customers that we have in states that have to follow certain laws. So we’ll ship it to them in bulk and white labeled, and they have to go through their process. But for the most part, we send it to our b2b customers in our jars. Got it.

george grombacher 15:57
Excellent. So circling back, you said that you convinced Warren Buffett to to buy a company is that easy to do?

David Miller 16:08
I’m sure I was just one extremely small piece in his overall plan. He quoted us as having or being the cheapest investment banking fee ever. Given that he gave the US he gave our professor in a share and he gave all the students that we share have quite a bit of different value for those that are familiar. But yeah, I think it was maybe $1,000 a share for the B share at the time, something around there. But yeah, that was I don’t know that did any convincing. We were just Right Place Right Time. Some, you know, nerdy analytical guys, just disk describing cash flow and their management team.

george grombacher 16:53
And when you are catching up with old friends that you’ve not seen in a while, and they know you as the finance guy, and now you are the cannabis guy, how does that go over?

David Miller 17:05
Similar to how you asked what you mentioned George’s like, what’s, where’s the disconnect? Or how do you connect the dots here? But I just tell them kind of what other than they think it’s really cool. Yeah, just kind of tell them the same story.

george grombacher 17:22
And it’s also possible as somebody who’s worked in financial services for a long time, I know that I’m not necessarily the most popular person to talk to at a cocktail party. But now you might be the most popular person to talk to at a cocktail party.

David Miller 17:35
Yeah, my wife, my wife is the social butterfly. So she’s a better salesperson than I am. But yeah, definitely it’s have some gravitating conversations. Whenever we start talking to at outings. I love it.

george grombacher 17:51
All right. So what is something are some things that you wish more people understood about cannabis?

David Miller 17:58
Oh, that’s, that’s easy. For me. It’s the consumer education is key for us being able to actually affect people’s health. So understanding how the different cannabinoids ie THC, CBD help people and how that is combined with with the terpenes as well. If people actually understand the components in the analysis of what that what is in that flower and how that can help them then it’s, it can change so many people’s lives.

george grombacher 18:31
Got it? Excellent. And why flow gardens versus your other? We are cannabis cannabis companies weed sorry.

David Miller 18:44
No, it’s we have not found a company that produces higher quality hemp cannabis flower than us. People that review it, we have a pretty strong Reddit following and that underground community. So our quality speaks for itself other than you know what we’re promoting internally. But I mean, if you look at what are called the COA certificate of analysis and actually break downs, the cannabinoids and terpenes and that’s that’s where the rubber meets the road with quality

george grombacher 19:18
of it. But David, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and flow gardens?

David Miller 19:27
Go into flow gardens.com If you want to learn about my boring life, you can find me on Instagram at David Miller dot buzz.

george grombacher 19:35
Perfect. Have you enjoyed as much as I did? Show your appreciation to David and I and share your share the show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to flow gardens.com And check out all the things that David and Eric and the rest of the team are working on. Find more about David at Instagram It’s David Miller buzz, not buzz Yep, they David Miller dot buzz and I’ll link all those in the notes of the show thanks again David

David Miller 20:04
Thanks George appreciate you having me

george grombacher 20:06
and until next time remember do your part for doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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