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In Summary

Paul Trowe with Herban Bud joins Founder of Kush.com Chase Nobles on the HempList #68

Paul’s story starts back in the 80’s working with video game publishers (Activision / Gremlin Interactive) on ground breaking video game titles like Half Life and Grand Theft Auto! From there he talks about getting busted in Texas with a small amount of THC and fighting a 10 year prison sentence and how that led to Herban Bud & helping others. Then Paul & Chase discuss Hemp in Texas and the odd politics that have taken place over the last 1-2 years including a potential smokable Flower ban, and legal Delta 8 for the time being..

herbanbud.co

Herban was founded to alleviate one of the biggest concerns about cannabis, getting arrested for having illegal cannabis products. Our goal is to make cannabis products, from hemp-derived cannabinoids, strong enough for people that diswades them from having to smuggle their medicine in from regulates states. We’ve been extremely successful with Delta-8, but we have since expanded the product line to include cannabinoids such as THC-O, HHC, THCp and recently THCh.

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Transcript (Auto-Generated)

hey everybody chase nobles here founder
over at kush.com i’ve got paul trowe
here from urban bud super excited to
have you on the show good morning paul
how you doing good morning chase thank
you so much for uh for doing this i uh
i’m privileged to be here i’ve seen the
the the show before and uh i’m just
grateful that we’re doing it today so
thank you all right on right on well it
took a minute we had a couple of back
and forth but we made it happen today
and
um you know i got a chance to read
through the bio and one of the things
that really stuck out is there’s a few
things that go together like peanut
butter and jelly and video games and
weed is definitely one of those things
give me a little bit of overview because
this
you’re you you got started in cannabis
early but you got started in video games
even earlier tell us what that was like
starting video games in the early 80s uh
when i was a teenager in high school
i just started beta testing games for
this company called sierra online they
made games like king’s quest and leisure
suit larry and
police quest i mean we published the
first half-life
then i went to work for activision for
two years and i worked with work for the
developer of grand theft auto i licensed
that franchise over to rockstar games in
98
did it deal with sony uh sony got the
exclusive rights to one two three you’re
telling me you were one of the original
developers on grand theft auto like
not on the development team you know the
development team was based in scotland
at dma design um the publisher in the uk
was gremlin interactive and i worked for
the publisher i ran the us office and my
job was to get our games
from
the uk
where we were publishing ourselves into
publishers hands in the u.s where we
didn’t have any presence and it was a
huge undertaking
and i bet it was grand theft auto wasn’t
the uh i mean that really set
a whole new category of video games
nobody wanted to publish grand theft
auto nobody so then i went try tried to
go direct to retailers and nobody would
take it that way either and so i mean
after you know we i set up a website
gremlinhyphenusa.com
and i hired some kid right out of ucla i
was living in la at the time and uh just
to send out one copy you know via usps
one day like every time somebody would
order off the website and then after we
had like 72 000. 72 000 you know
individual sales um it caught notice of
a little tiny company called asc games
uh who said yeah you know we heard that
you’re trying to make the rounds and we
know you pitch to everybody so we’re not
going to give you any money up front for
the game because you’ve already you know
blown your wad so to speak but we’ll you
know we’ll try and put it in ourselves
and
you know instead of no money up front
we’ll give you 50 50 on the on the net
revenue so i took that back today
you just had to hustle your way in
the entire market and that became one of
the biggest video game
we only honestly we only made enough
money off of grand theft auto 1 to make
grand theft auto 2. um you know
on the playstation was grand theft auto
2 but on the pc was actually an
expansion pack called gta uk i don’t
know if anybody remembers that or not
but um and then once the rockstar deal
happened um you know we had a much
bigger budget to go
to go to go wide with it and we i mean
we didn’t even market jta3 because we
wouldn’t
rockstar nor us thought it was going to
be as big of a hit as it was um and then
once it took off it was all word of
mouth and i think honestly um it was at
the time i think fry’s electronics
required us to put a sticker on the box
that said um over 18 only you know when
it was like a big red sky i honestly
think that’s what propelled the sales oh
for sure it’s like whatever they put
explicit on all the the rap albums
exactly exactly exactly yeah i mean and
i learned that pr trick at sierra online
with half-life and with phantasmagoria
so that was you know like
part of part of our little marketing
strategy i mean you know in 98 we were
the industry was still in its infancy
really
so uh we were all learning as we went
so fast forward a little bit
your um you you you know you’re starting
this career in in video games you know
you get a major
game off the you know off the shelf and
into the consumer’s hands what what what
was the progression here how did you get
in like why are we doing an interview me
and you
um it started because you know at
gremlin um
my boss told me he said you know paul
we have a different philosophy at
gremlin than you guys did activation at
gremlin we like to get people
up
you know and if they’re going to buy our
games they’re going to buy our games if
they’re not going to buy our games
they’re not going to buy games but at
least they know when they go out with
the boys from gremlin interactive they
have a good freaking time i was like man
i love that philosophy so instead of
just and then his rule was four four
people had dinner four bottles of wine
but yeah i wasn’t a big drinker so you
know i was getting my customers high in
california with my med card
and
um i said you know phil i’m like i’m
using all this money to get my customers
high
how do i expense that to gremlin because
i’m losing a lot of money here and i’m
giving him bags you know and pipes and
stuff like that and he’s like oh just
save the receipts from you know uh from
from comdex and from ces from the taxi
cabs and just you know put the expenses
on there
so
you know fast forward to we the company
got sold to atari i went to work for
atari and then i moved to austin for a
startup here
and i brought my medicine in from
california
and uh i got i got busted with
two a pill bottle but it had two thc
pills in it and in texas it’s a second
degree felony for over four grams under
400 grams
um and i was in 2005 and i was facing 10
years in prison
so that’s really why we’re here today
because um you know after i sold my last
company we play games in 2016 i wanted
to create products in texas that are
legal that are strong enough so people
don’t have to smuggle the medicine in
and that’s really the goal behind
founding irvin or urban butt is the
brand the company was urban
so uh you know if i can stop one person
from getting arrested and and i know we
have um you know that’s i consider a job
well done so that’s
a simple mission honestly
that’s a
quite
righteous mission right
you must have been
scared as hell
i was taking valium every day for two
years
i mean the the d.a wanted to use me as
an example
um you know to show that he wasn’t soft
on crime he was also running to be the
he was an assistant district attorney in
in austin travis county and he was
running to be the d.a of caldwell county
which is a really conservative county
and they want to you know show that
they’re not going to put up with any
marijuana you know abuse at all plus it
was the very start of people moving in
from california and they wanted to show
that you know they’re not going to let
any californians bring their their their
their
devil’s lettuce here you know it was
literally two pills in a pill bottle but
in texas law you’re allowed to weigh the
container in which the drugs were kept
so they weighed the pill bottle and even
though there’s only two thc pills um it
was constitutes the concentrating pills
they weighed the pill bottles over four
grams and it was 4.9 grams so this texas
statute was over four grams under 400
10-year mandatory minimum
wow
yeah that’s so wild and it also kind of
brings the light that the bizarre
that that law is still valid here
right like
it’s just
it’s the same law they haven’t changed
it you know in in travis county which is
austin in san antonio and houston and
dallas you know you’re probably not
going to get prosecuted like that
anymore but in those rural counties
people are still getting prosecuted i
even got arrested in 2019 for having
hemp in my car in caldwell county where
i was where i was skydiving i mean they
tried all the charges got dropped
because we we made them test everything
um but still you know
the cop thought it was marijuana and he
thought he was you know making this huge
bust because i had it was well i did two
years of research before opening the
doors of urban to go you know all to all
these different farms go to all the
different trade shows you know mem day
biz con all the cbd trade every single
trade show i could possibly go to do as
much research and much homework i’m a
nerd like that
and i brought all these samples back
from the trade show because i i’m a
really i’m a lightweight and i brought
it out to the drop zone where i skydive
to see if those people can get high off
of hemp derived products and if they got
the same effect because i can get high
off you know
one hit of a vape card right but all my
friends have much higher tolerance than
i do so i brought all these samples out
of the drop so i went on the way back i
got pulled over for speeding and he’s
like oh you have marijuana in the car
and he pulled me out of the car put me
in handcuffs and then i was i was the
guy on the side of the road you know
like with the hamster on the back and
the guy was like pulling everything out
of my car so you know it’s a terrible
situation um and still like that in
texas unfortunately so it is unfortunate
unfortunately austin you know dallas
things have changed a lot since i would
imagine since 2005 right yeah decrim in
austin um i don’t know if there’s
decriminalization in dallas but it seems
like a pretty liberal city last time i
was there for the texas show that we put
on saw you there you might you might
still get arrested for it but but in at
least in travis county which is austin
you will not get prosecuted right so you
might spend a little jail but it’s kind
of
well you know in
in texas specifically you know
with that kind of law enforcement
attitude not everybody but a lot of law
enforcement officers out in texas with
that kind of attitude
hemp has become quite indistinguishable
from you know something that somebody
would bring in from colorado for example
yeah especially high quality hemp flour
like indoor grown hem flower i mean
i mean we all know it’s the same plant
it is the same exact plant you know yeah
no i mean i i was when i was in dallas
for the show i got in real late one
night and i got on the elevator and um
somebody had definitely just smoked a
giant joint um before getting on the
elevator and uh it was some there was a
rowdier crew in the elevator and then
there was a lady that obviously worked
at the hotel
kind of looking at me sideways and i was
like are you guys here for the show and
uh that ended up being you
[Laughter]
but it is indistinguishable isn’t it
because it i mean he the cop even told
me he go he goes he’s like i can i can
smell the difference between hemp and
marijuana i was like oh you can good
luck because you know thc doesn’t have
an order right it’s the terpenes that
you’re smelling and obviously you didn’t
know what terpenes were so
i think that actually
no it’s wild i think
when you look at it through a certain
lens of
you know
this is kind of a soft legalization
whenever they legalized him this was a
soft test run of legalization of
marijuana nationwide i think that has to
come soon because the industries are so
closely related
you’re starting to see cbd
hemp products sold in you know every
major retailer and
we talk to a lot of them if they aren’t
yet they hopefully will be soon
but all of that is a big plan in order
to sell thc whenever it’s legalized
federally and i think that
the brands that are being built right
now like urban bud are a big part of
that um not just you know business-wise
and you understand that and
distribution-wise you understand that
it’s
social and cultural
that the cannabis plant whether it’s
hemp or weed you know t-i-t-h-c strains
it’s one of those things where
it’s all changing right in front of us
and it feels slow for us in the industry
right but
compared to you were in it in the 90s
compared to the 90s and compared to the
early 2000s this is light speed for this
space so tell us what you’ve experienced
with you know
the products that you have brought to
market because they are not the products
with no risk as we saw right before the
texas show last year what what is
happening in texas how do you look at
the
um
current regulations and what’s coming
down the pipe and you know kind of that
tense battle that’s happening
politically
so
you know the regulations in texas
currently are
that they basically mimicked the
agricultural improvement act of 2018 for
the state of texas
didn’t change any of the any of the
statutes they they did try and make
smokeable hemp illegal in texas
and they lost that battle
which which only which was so
radical to me because who does that hurt
the most what business owner does that
hurt what’s using what’s even worse is
then then they changed their mind and
said okay well you can smoke hemp in
texas but it can’t be grown from texas
farmers it has to be imported from out
of state and i’m
you know all of us in texas are like
how does that make any sense for the
texas economy whatsoever
a massive agricultural state with
everybody and their brother hoping for a
cash crop to come along to save them
whenever commodity prices have been
crashing because back then you know we
had all the
uh
commodities kind of freezes with china
right and we were just sitting on
so much corn and so much soy that we
couldn’t export isn’t that right and
farmers were like okay well i’ll plant a
couple acres just to experiment and then
you’re gonna you know
step on their throats again it just
seems so bizarre that the texas
government would do that
yeah you know it’s it’s all these old
white men
that are that are in the in the you know
not just the legislature but in the
administration is mainly it’s dan
patrick and governor abbott that are
really holding up because dan patrick is
the lieutenant governor he presides over
the senate and he refuses to allow any
cannabis bills to the floor of the
senate for a vote
and that’s that’s really the hindrance
to
you know um legalization in terms of
real medical marijuana i mean we
currently have medical marijuana where
you can have up to one percent thc in
the product
i mean that’s barely more than hemp
right right i mean it’s glorified have
really you know in states like
california when i worked for when i
volunteered for normal you know there
were there were no restrictions on on
thc caps
whatsoever you know if you have a
medical card you know i mean there are
potency caps on edibles but not on
flower i mean i do have a lot of
complaints about the california market
like the licensing fees the taxes oh 100
california is so messed up because
like
washington did not get it right at all
we’re based up here in seattle
washington did not get it right but we
were we were the first state along with
colorado to implement implement full
legalization and before that it was a
normal model really rowdy black market
gray market you know wild west market
and in all these states they’re not
going off of you know lessons from
anybody you know if everybody learned
off the colorado lesson i think we’d be
doing you know pretty well for ourselves
but i mean you look at florida you have
to have full vertical integration in
order to sell medical marijuana which is
bizarre if you go through the facilities
unless there’s very little sense to
integrate that deeply unless you have
you know tens of millions if not
hundreds of millions of dollars to
invest because
it’s a lot of capital to
fully integrate like that it is it is
and it’s it’s discouraging you know i’d
like to see something more like the
colorado model or the oklahoma model i’d
also like to see you know equity
um social equity built into this i mean
it’s texas so we’re not really going to
have
a lot of social equity here
unfortunately but but ideally you have
lower taxes right lower taxes on product
because that’s what killed
the california market i mean i know
there were a lot of things wrong with
the california market but having worked
with a lot of farmers and a lot of
manufacturers and even retailers in
california getting taxed at every level
for every transaction
i spoke to bud tenders in california in
san diego when i was when i was at a
show two years ago and
you know the bud tender said you know
because our taxes are so high every
dollar they spend in our dispensary
there’s five dollars spent outside you
know in the illicit market oh 100
100 it was actually really hard to
differentiate between
people that were you know
regulated and unregulated in california
because everybody blurred the lines
because the taxes were too high it
seemed like
yeah
and then you also had a lot of you know
for california a lot of cowboys that
they were gonna make money one way or
another and so
it was a pretty wild situation whenever
legalization first happened that first
year was just very strange yeah it was
you know i get a lot of a lot of
validation when i hear reviews from
people that moved here from california
that
take that test our products and say oh
my god you know i just came here from
california colorado and
you know this is just as good as i got
back home and i’m like all right we’re
actually doing something right
so delta8
give us a spiel give us tell us tell us
what’s going on because it’s one of
those products that
everybody has a little bit different
take on it
but it is here it doesn’t seem like it’s
going anywhere
and it’s
helping a lot of people um
how did that come to the market and what
you know what’s what’s really built its
staying power you know politically as
well as consumer wise
what’s happening right now in the market
because this is a big part of what you
do honestly the staying power the
staying power for delta eight
is the fact that we we don’t have access
to any legitimate cannabis
we just don’t
and delta 8 is the closest thing that we
can possibly get
i got to tell you there’s a lot of shady
companies out there a lot of them that
are just putting out the cheapest
quality products possible just because
they see it’s a cash grab i’m very much
against that i’m not going to name
brands but you know we know what brands
you can get at the gas station um you
know those are the guys that are not you
know submitting coas or full panel to
make sure there’s no residual solvents
or heavy metals or pesticides
um
but you know for legitimate brands um
you know where we’re completely
transparent and we do things the right
way um it’s actually a really really
great alternative you know even though
it’s about 60 the strength of delta 9
we had to pivot hard in november you
know when department of state health
services in texas
said you know just arbitrarily came out
and said delta 8 is a controlled
substance um you know there’s a huge
lawsuit we actually won an injunction um
and it’s you know working its way
through the appeals court now um but the
legislature doesn’t meet again until
2023
so
so we’ve got about you know a year and a
half two years
that’s wild
yeah that’s wild that it takes until
2023 to
you know yeah i mean
and we also don’t live in a ballot based
initiative state so you know like i said
i was volunteering for normal in
california going door-to-door collected
signatures for i think it was prop
215 i think it was prop 215 right right
california yes yeah
um
so we don’t have proposition-based
ballots here right or ballot-based
initiatives here so it’s got to go
through the texas legislature and like i
mentioned earlier dan patrick refuses to
bring any type of cannabis legislation
to the floor so delta eight is what we
have hhc is what we have you know thco
is what we have um
thcp is what we have thc h t a c j d you
know we’re getting we’re playing with
all these miners
um which don’t have a lot of traction in
the marketplace they just don’t um so
you know and a lot of my competitors
come to market with all these products
that you know they have no experience
with there’s no you know no market
testing no product testing no focus
group testing like side effects anything
like that so we’re we’re usually behind
everybody i’m coming to market with
products just because we don’t want to
cause harm
in people we’re trying to get the
medicine to
so
yeah while i may be leaving a lot of
money on the table because i’m not the
first to come to market with a new
product
you know
i can sleep at night
right
it’s one of those things you know i
hopefully texas gets it worked out um
ideally the federal government gets it
worked out quicker than texas does which
you know i’m super hopeful for i i’m
optimistic on the timeline i think
there’s a lot being done
there is you know the the safe banking
act is is being attached to i forgot
it’s being attached to one of the bills
i think it’s an omnibus spending bill
right now uh that they’re trying to
attach it to but that’s just the safe
banking act is just beginning you know
and then after the federal government
legalizes you know or decriminalizes you
know marijuana at a federal level then
all the states have to make up their own
rules just like the agricultural
improvement or the farm bill you know
each state have to make it has had to
make up their own hemp rules
so you know we there’s kind of like two
fronts that we have to work with and the
truth is and even in texas it’s not hard
to get
even high thc products
right it
cannabis is everywhere and so
just bringing that into the regulatory
fold
seems like not only the smart choice but
the right choice culturally health and
wellness wise like
because you know how it is even in the
especially being that early in the
california market how many shady
products there are
and you’re seeing it again in you know
you know kind of the lower grade
hemp producers uh because it is it is a
crash crab for a lot of people so um
it’ll be interesting to see what happens
in texas my
thoughts are you know really with the
people the consumers in texas because
they need a better choice and they need
you know support of the state to really
encourage
the best companies to succeed in in
providing them quality products like you
guys are doing so um yeah i’d love to
love to keep the conversation going you
guys have been a key part of our events
down there in texas and hopefully we can
get you guys to come out to uh
tampa for cushcon coming up in august
yeah we’re seriously we’re seriously
looking at it actually it would be fun
it would be fun to have you guys out
there we’ll have to link up and
florida’s great market that we’re trying
to penetrate as well so it’s a it’s a
big market that’s part of the reason
that we decided to
push pretty heavily into the state
because so much is happening there you
know so many people are moving there so
many companies are starting there
um felt fairly um acceptant of the space
too and so that’s really encouraging to
you know help build the market down
there the same way we did in texas in
2020 when we did that first big trade
show i was there i still have the little
texas hemp convention pin on my uh my
backpack that makes me so happy to hear
that makes me so happy here well i mean
it looks like a nerd but who cares i’ve
spread the love in florida with us it
was it’s it’s been a pleasure to get to
know you paul um i can’t wait to see
where you are a year from now let’s do
another interview coming up soon and uh
is there anything else you want to tell
tell everybody before we talk i
appreciate the mission you guys are on
you’re doing a great job you did you did
two great conventions in a row i was
part of both of them and i look forward
to being part of more you know keep up
the good work chase and thank you for
for helping the entire industry out
you’re you’re really helping our mission
as well so all right paul i appreciate
those thoughts it’s great to work with
people like you and i look forward to
building a friendship for years to come
so thank you so much we’ll uh we’ll be
in touch congratulations on everything
you’ve done it’s been paul trial from
urban bud