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Monday, 01/17/2022 8:33:23 PM

Monday, January 17, 2022 8:33:23 PM

Post# of 191
They were featured in FORBES magazine back in 2019...

Sep 30, 2019,03:31pm EDT|1,867 views

An Introduction To Old Pal Cannabis In Five Smart Questions
Warren Bobrow
Warren BobrowFormer Contributor

I first became acquainted with Old Pal at the Hall of Flowers, the bi-yearly event known as the Hall of Flowers. Old Pal owns a very special vehicle, a 1940’s era school bus with a raised roof and part of a floor. It is better known as the Cosmic Collider. All that it needed was the Ken Kesey at the wheel of this Merry Prankster style vehicle screaming at the top of his lungs as his vehicle careened down mountains without brakes, “Further! Further!”

I wanted to get on the bus, immediately and never get off. Reminded me of Lowell George of Little Feat: “Roll another one, just like the other one. You’ve been holding on to it, and I sure would like a hit”.

Rusty Wilenkin (Co-founder & CEO) and Jason Osni (Co-founder & President).

Warren Bobrow=WB: Where are you from? Why cannabis? Did you go to business school? Who is your mentor? Why are they important?

JO: Originally from New York. The idea of building a successful, self sustaining career with the potential to help people was really appealing to me after graduating law school. Having been immersed in big NYC law, I quickly became cynical of the phenomenon that wealth seems to always be created at the expense of other people and cannabis felt like an interesting opportunity to veer away from that ideology. It was also a chance for me to exercise the left of side of my brain and create beautiful brands. Not to mention, to be part of the cannabis legalization phenomenon is not something that comes across your desk everyday.

RW: I’m from New York, and as a long time cannabis user, this plant has always been special to me. I wanted to be a part of the movement, to bring this plant to mainstream America and make it accessible to all. My mentor is my father, he is a self made entrepreneur, and has always been someone I could look to for advice. On a personal and professional level, I often look to him when I need someone to bounce ideas off of.

JO: Philosophically, Old Pal was born out of an idea that when everybody is focused on 'one' thing, there is often a massive opportunity to focus on the opposite. Old Pal was created during a time in cannabis when everyone wanted to create the next high end, female leaning brand. It was clear to Rusty (my partner and co-founder) and I that, although developing something high-end was a sexy & fun proposition, the average cannabis consumer is price sensitive. We decided to be the first brand to focus exclusively on the value shelf while still taking some of the artistic elements many of the high end brands were using in order to elevate the experience and create a community that consumers are compelled to be a part of. From a brand perspective, we look to companies like PBR that not only offer a value product but have such a strong understanding of their identity that they have created immense perceived value. In a commoditized market it is not enough to offer value, you need to have an authentic reason for being. Old Pal exists to take a step back from all the technological advances that have developed in the legal cannabis market and remind people "Its just Weed, Man". Old Pal is cannabis for the people and we work tirelessly to ensure our products are accessible to anyone who has interest in the plant.

RW: Jason said it really well, we built this thing to simplify weed and to make it accessible for everyone. We were off-put by the sterile, insular brands, and wanted to make something inherently shareable.

JO: The interesting thing about Cannabis is that the obstacles change daily. With high risk comes high reward which I believe is the massive draw of so many entrepreneurs. The changes that will occur from a regulatory standpoint are the obvious obstacles that will be interesting to navigate over the upcoming years. The other major obstacle is finding a way to create packaging that does not leave such a massive ecological footprint on our planet. It is very tough for us at Old Pal to feel good about who we are as a company when state child proofing regulations force us to use non-recyclable packaging. We have been putting serious R&D resources behind figuring out this problem. Both Rusty and myself are originally New Yorkers. I think being able to bring our hard work home would be a major milestone for us. We also heard that New York city has one or two people that like to consume cannabis....probably a pretty decent market for Old Pal haha.

RW: Echoing Jason’s sentiment here, I’d say our biggest hurdles are the regulatory environment in which we’re forced to live as a brand. While we believe in a regulated marketplace, the constant shifts in local regulations have major business impacts. We’d love nothing more than to see our products sold in our home state. New York is a special place, and as a national brand, we need to be there.

Numbers don't lie. People do.