Years in Tampa Bay
I was born and raised in Pinellas County and have been fortunate enough to live in Tampa Bay for 32 years.
I am the CEO + Founder of the Tampa Bay Hemp Company and Partner/Managing Member of Sunshine State Labs.
What do you do?
I work with farmers and hemp brokers throughout the United States to ensure a great product for my customers. I am also currently setting up an extraction lab in Pinellas Park, which will allow me to cut my product’s pricing in half and in turn reduce the cost for consumers. I will be running the daily operations at the lab where we manufacture our CBD products. As I work, my goal is to ensure that every customer’s product meets the standards that I have for myself.
Why do you do it?
I always have the drive to help people, and the hemp plant allow me to do that. Hemp is the future, especially for natural medicine. If I am unable to provide access to my products, I want to be providing accurate information and awareness at the very least. I also look forward to opening an extraction lab here in Pinellas Park because of the job opportunities that it will bring my community.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
I started my first business, laprinting.com, when I was 18, which enabled me to later move to California and open Topshelfmeds. After working there for eight years and Colorado for four, I decided to move back home to Florida, where I put energy into different companies before opening the Tampa Bay Hemp Company. Flash forward to now and I’m opening Sunshine State Labs and launching a Kratom distribution company, as well.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
There are many misconceptions about cannabis, beginning with the myth that it has no health benefits. Cannabis and CBD oil have been used for many years to treat medical issues and can calm individuals struggling with neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. In addition, there is still the common misconception that cannabis is a “gateway” to hard drugs. Countless studies have shown that there is no evidence that cannabis causes hard drug use, and many studies have found that it actually can help individuals struggling with substance use because it creates a safer alternative.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Everything in our industry is rapidly changing in terms of regulation, so we have to stay up to date in that respect. It would also be nearly impossible to do all of this alone, so it is important to keep a strong team around me.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
Learning lessons isn’t cheap: what I mean by that is that obstacles are inevitable and offer an opportunity to grow, but they should never deter you from your dream. I have six businesses, which is a feat I would have never accomplished had I been scared of failure or bought into the negativity others fed me. You can never dream too big!
Will CBD products get you high?
No, hemp does not have anywhere near enough THC to get a person “high.”