Mountain High Suckers – September Q&A Session
Learn how the cannabis industry has changed over the last ten years in this Q&A with Chad Tribble and John Garrison. Chad and John founded Mountain High Suckers 2009, and as pioneers of CBD-infused cannabis edibles, they have a unique perspective on where the industry has been and where it’s going.
How Did You Get Started?
Chad and John both moved to Colorado in 1996 to pursue an outdoor lifestyle. They met while working for a painting contractor and bonded over rock climbing and other outdoor activities.
John was the first to develop an interest in cannabis. He started growing and registered as a caregiver, providing cannabis to some of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.
“One day John had me over to his house, and I hadn’t been over there in a while,” Chad explains. “John had a room dedicated to [growing]. He had all the patient names on the wall.”
The idea of providing for patients and growing cannabis appealed to Chad, so he started growing cannabis as a caregiver, too. While visiting dispensaries to sell his flower, Chad would see patients come in with cookie trays. They didn’t know how strong the cookies were, but they would trade the cookies for flower from the dispensary.
It clicked for Chad that there was more to cannabis than smoking flower, and he saw the potential for a whole range of cannabis products for patients. He went to the bookstore and bought a book on candy-making.
“Hard candy was stuck in my mind. I saw this picture of this really clear sucker, and I said, ‘How do you get an extraction or something into this sucker and have it still be a sucker?’
From there, Chad started learning more about the ethanol extraction process. “I learned it in my backyard like a lot of guys did, and we’ve taken it to a different level now. We know the science behind making a great extraction for what we’d like to keep in it versus what we’d like to remove…we try to keep it all whole plant and all together.”
What has been the key to your success after ten years in the cannabis business?
Mountain High Suckers has 34 flavors, each of which we worked on and perfected before they went anywhere near store shelves. The quality and consistency of our suckers is something that patients and consumers can count on.
More than anything, say John and Chad, “We’re a caring company.”
How has the industry changed from when you started vs. now?
“When we first started, there was no CBD on the market at all,” says John. “We were the very first company in America to have a THC-, CBD-infused product. Getting the word out was a little difficult.”
John explains how they used to try to educate doctors who were licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. “It was trying in the beginning. It took a couple of years to catch on. Now, of course, CBD is everything, everywhere.”
In the beginning, John says, “We were wondering if the FBI was going to be hitting us on the shoulder…to [now] having a bright future for our company.”
Rules and regulations have changed a lot in the last ten years, and it’s affected how cannabis companies like Mountain High Suckers interact with dispensaries and budtenders.
“In the beginning, it was a lot easier to get samples to people,” Chad says. “We do appreciate regulation, but obviously, there are pluses and minuses about how you can get things streamlined to people. It was a lot more fun back in the day. We could go to a dispensary with a delivery, ask how many employees were on staff that were brand new…and give samples out the same day and get a lot more response. It’s hard to get samples into places these days.”
What do you think is next for the future of cannabis?
“When it’s descheduled, big pharma is gonna come in and break it all apart and figure out what [cannabinoid] helps with each disorder,” John predicts. “On the rec side, I see a very fruitful, awesome future all around the world.” Medical and recreational cannabis are “always going to be separated, in my opinion.”
Chad says, “The future is bright. I feel the information that’s being provided to people today is very helpful. Back in the day, there was a lot of misunderstood information being put out there about cannabis. Back then, you wouldn’t have heard about its benefits. You’d only hear the negative propaganda.
“We’ve come so far: 10 years under our belt in Colorado, and that’s without true trials, but the testimonials and the data we’ve collected prove cannabis to be more beneficial than it is negative. I feel like that’s why the world is really starting to rally around cannabis.”
What’s next for Mountain High Suckers?
“We’re continuing to grow. Our footprint isn’t just Colorado anymore. We’ll be in a few different countries. We’ll be in a multitude of states and have larger brand exposure. The plan is to continue to make great products and expand around the globe.”
“I see next year being a big turning point for Mountain High Suckers,” says John. “HB-1090 just passed, allowing outside corporate money to come into the state to start buying up dispensaries and grows and whatever they want, so there’s going to be a significant consolidation and acquisitions.”
Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you for our next video sesh!
Come see Mountain High Suckers at one of our next events and ask for us by name at your dispensary!