There are moments in any journalists life where you know you’re going to be able to tell a fantastic anecdote for eternity, and this was one of them.
Sitting next to a crystal-clear pool in the blazing sunshine at SXSW in Austin this year, Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan, Citizen Grown’s CEO Redg Snodgrass, Resolute Consulting’s Alan Solow and I sat down to discuss the cannabis startup’s mission, and what it means to democratize the growing and harvesting process in 2019.
So what is Citizen Grown, and how does it work?
Billed as “cannabis for the people, by the people,” Citizen Grown will provide any household (in supported US States) with a hydroponic growing kit that takes up a 5×5 space. They’ll then pay you for your area, and they’ll harvest the resulting crop for selling on.
In short, you can make good money from growing weed in your property. We’re talking about anything from $1,000 to $3,000 a month.
The broader mission: Support the legalization of cannabis on a wider basis, while giving people control of their life and ensuring those that are awarded growing licenses aren’t taken advantage of.
“We have a hydroponic grow box and a service that goes along with it, where we place it in a home, and it grows weed,” Snodgrass says. “As soon as we place the box in your home, we start paying out $1000 a month. We manage the growth remotely — we have an app that manages it in the home. We harvest it, we do everything, we package it, and that’s the Citizen Grown brand.”
“If you’ve got a five by five square foot of space available, we can pay you $1000 to $3,000 a month just to sit back and relax and, you know, get rid of that anxiety in your life,” Snodgrass adds.
I’ve been to some facilities in Tel Aviv where those companies have massive greenhouses and vast amounts of land at their disposal. One company I saw is just about to expand, and take over the more substantial part of a kibbutz. While those businesses are producing hundreds of tons of product, Citizen Grown is spreading that load by leveraging small spaces in households across the US.
So how is the regulatory landscape changing to enable this?
“What we have first seen throughout the United States, and at a state level, is a trend towards permissible use for medical reasons,” Solow said. “And I think the success of those programs is leading more and more States to consider broader legalization. I believe that that is going to be the result in the near term — there’s a lot of states that see it as a benefit to their citizens generally, because they understand that people like to use cannabis and that it’s been shown to be safe and effective and reducer of all kinds of anxieties that people have.”
Being from the Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon’s audience is incredibly important to him. Is it the community aspect of Citizen Grown that drove him to align with the startup, rather than investing in and evangelizing a standard supply and demand producer?
“I think wanting to have more concern about what is going on in a community is important,” Raekwon said. “A lot of times artists have a voice, and we come from these communities where we know what’s going on. We want to figure out what makes sense and how we can bring people together. It was just something that I just felt was brilliant and gives you an opportunity to believe in yourself, again, because I think a lot of times when you’re in a neighborhood, you give up quickly because you don’t have so many opportunities that come to you.”
Watch the full interview above, and those interested in Citizen Grown’s mission can register their interest at its website.