How We Got Here
I get asked quite a bit how I got into cannabis and it’s pretty simple, it’s always worked for me... and as you’ll see in my story, at certain points in my life, it was a lifesaver. I have met enough other people with similar stories over the years that I know that it’s not just me…
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009, the same year my wife Krystle and I got married. For an entire year leading up to the diagnosis my body had been rejecting food. As soon as it would get near my lips, I would start to salivate, if I went through with eating it I would throw up. The only thing that gave me relief from this scenario was smoking a little bit of cannabis, instantly the barrier to eat would drop. I was prescribed a steroid as we went to Italy for our honeymoon just so I’d be able to eat while I was there.
My situation got bad enough that I ended up in the emergency room at UAMS in Little Rock. My now longtime GI doctor was in his residency at the time and said “You need surgery bro.” I had a resection during the summer of 2010, the World Cup was going on, I remember talking about it with my surgeon as I went under to have four feet of my small intestine and several fistulas removed. I woke up from surgery and no longer required cannabis in order to eat.
Soon after Krystle and I moved to Colorado, I had been prescribed two different biologics that carried a cancer risk, which scared me quite a bit as Krystle and I are both childhood cancer survivors. I had Wilms’ tumor on my kidney as a four year old and Krystle was fourteen when diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We both owe our lives to lots of prayer and all the heroes at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
One of the first years that Krystle and I were in Colorado, we traveled from Durango to Denver to see our favorite band, My Morning Jacket, at Red Rocks and I went to a dispensary in Cherry Creek called Caregivers For Life. I was looking for an edible to enhance my experience at the concert and that was the first time I ran across Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO. I was at the concert that night eating hot dogs and drinking PBR tallboys. Having Crohn’s, the next morning I was expecting the worst. Instead, I experienced the exact opposite of what I expected…many of the symptoms that I had dealt with every single day post surgery had suddenly vanished.
I had a friend that owned a dispensary where I lived in Durango and he started purchasing the RSO for me wholesale and passed on the cost to me. At the time there were only two places in the entire state making Rick Simpson Oil. It was a life changer and I’ll never forget that friend that did whatever it took in order to get me access to that oil.
Cut to 2016 and we moved from Durango Colorado back to Arkansas after the birth of our first child, Connor. A few years later the Farm Bill legalizing hemp was signed in December 2018 and Arkansas was getting their hemp program off the ground in 2019. My three brothers and another friend went forward with three separate hemp licenses for cultivation, processing, and seed distribution.
That first year was all about growing it. We were anxious and started too early and we made all the classic mistakes of new cultivators. After the crop was in the ground, I turned my attention to extraction, product creation, and building a cool local brand. Most of the headlines around that time involved CBD but in my mind, the big opportunity was federally legal THC, when derived from hemp, under a certain concentration.
I had also seen a long sustaining trend develop while I was living in Colorado. I remember the rollout of concentrates into that market, mostly extracted using Butane. I pretty much stopped smoking flower at that time and switched to concentrates. Many budtenders would cast shade on these hydrocarbon extracts made with Butane, Propane, Hexane, etc…and when old school hash and then Rosin hit the market I could really see the connoisseurs gravitate towards the solventless concentrates.
When we started building a product line with Ouachita Farms I knew I wanted to create the base for anything that I could with full spectrum Rosin and Bubble Hash. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of all cannabis extracts, I just think Rosin and Hash are the best!
Now our family of brands are found on hundreds of shelves in nearly every state. We are spreading the Rosin Gospel!