Consider the multi-phase evolution of Colorado’s cannabis industry: the illicit marketplace gave way to a relatively unregulated medical marketplace, which developed into a regulated medical industry, which opened the door for adult-use legalization.
Now, constantly shifting regulation in both the state’s medical and recreational industries creates a minefield of obstacles and hazards for aspiring cannabis companies.
Picture two young guys who’ve successfully navigated the past seven years of flux while dipping their toes in every corner of the industry, from growing, to running a dispensary to extracting cannabis concentrates: meet Adam Weiss and Spencer Uniss, founders of the Boulder, Colorado-based company, Bolder Cannabis & Extracts.
Weiss and Uniss say they were just in the right place at the right time. The pair met while attending CU Boulder, where they bonded over their shared fixation with top-shelf cannabis.
After graduation, each tried other professions before the fallout of the 2008 recession inspired them to invest in their own growing operation together.
Over the past seven years, these two self-taught entrepreneurs have expanded from their initial six-light, 1,000-square-foot grow into a 500-light, 16,000-square-foot grow that supplies 50 different strains to their Breckenridge dispensary and their extraction business, which wholesales top-shelf concentrates.
“After seven and a half years in the industry, we’ve made it to the point where everything’s all structured around us,” Uniss said. “We’ve jumped through every hoop when there’s been one.”
Those hoops have included audits by the City of Boulder and the IRS.
“We’ve gone through every kind of audit you could have,” Uniss said, adding that they’ve emerged without a scratch every time.
Bolder Cannabis & Extracts has been forced to repeatedly switch up their growing set-up and extraction process to remain compliant with ever-shifting Colorado regulations. They’ve had to adjust to a closed loop extraction system, adapt to new residual solvent parameters and implement new rules around growing plants for both medical and recreational consumers.
Through it all, Uniss and Weiss have prioritized compliance over profits. Without a note of bitterness in his voice, Uniss explained the sheer volume of new regulations the company faced and how regularly (and seemingly arbitrarily) the regulations shifted.
“We’re one of the only businesses in Boulder that has never had an infraction,” Uniss said. “In Colorado, they tend to clamp down and be really strict, and then they step back a little bit once they see everything’s okay.”
The boys behind Bolder seem to see the upside to the regulation: the industry is becoming increasingly mature.
Weiss believes that soon consumers will start to recognize the care that goes into making top-shelf extracts.
“People are going to start understanding the ground behind quality products,” he said. “Which at the end of the day comes from good starting material.”
Uniss added that, moving into the future, more people are starting to see dabbing as a legitimate alternative to flowers, which will change the market.
“In the next year or two, flower isn’t going to die out, but it’s going to become less popular as people are getting into using concentrates and dabbing,” he said. “I’m always surprised at the demographic that’s dabbing. At first, it was young kids, but now it’s older people.”
Bolder’s success has established the pair as impeccable businessmen in a range of sectors across the cannabis industry.
Now Weiss said he and Uniss are turning their focus towards helping others achieve the same success they have.
“We’re going to be doing a lot more cannabis risk management with our Bolder brand,” Weiss said. “We’re going to be helping a lot of people going to get their licenses and helping people comply, including helping with back-end bookkeeping, preparations for a lot of audits with the IRS or with the state or city, and generally preparing people for the obstacles they’ll face.”
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