Today we’d like to introduce you to Edgar Cruz, Meagan Dihom and Coreyl Brave.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Edgar Cruz, CO-CEO of Ekstrepe. I am a cannabis Equity Applicant within the jurisdiction of Long Beach, California.
I am in the process of building a cannabis cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing business at a large scale.
My passion for the cannabis industry began back in 2012 when I was volunteering as a budtender at a dispensary while also working in the banking industry. At the time, I was bringing in more revenue from the dispensary then I was working a regular 9-5 job. The reason behind why I decided to pursue the financial industry was to build proper connections, learn how to manage money properly, to gain an understanding of how banking truly operates and how I can correlate that with my future business. Due to the rapid increase of cannabis legalization worldwide, federal legalization is right around the corner. Therefore, it will require some sort of federally funded and insured banking system.
Soon after, I decided to launch my Cannabis delivery service called College Cruz Collective with the guidance of a few entrepreneurs. During the operations of my delivery service, I was also keeping up with rules and regulations in Los Angeles county regarding proper licensing for legal cannabis retail storefronts. Most people are aware that obtaining licensing in the cannabis industry requires a nice chunk of money. This is where the Social Equity Program goes into play.
CANNABIS SOCIAL EQUITY PROGRAM
The goal of the Cannabis Social Equity Program is to recognize and address the long-term impact that federal and state cannabis enforcement policies have had on low-income communities in the City of Long Beach.
The Equity Program is designed to support equal opportunity in the cannabis industry by making legal cannabis business ownership and employment opportunities more accessible to low-income individuals and communities most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
Now I am an approved applicant with the city of Long Beach.
During the development of my business, I came across my business partner, Meagan Dihom.
My name is Meagan Dihom, CO-CEO of Ekstrepe.
I’ve been in the industry for about six years now. I have worked as a budtender and I have also managed multiple dispensaries. I have always enjoyed the recreational and social aspects of cannabis use. However, my passion for the industry sparked soon after my father passed away from cancer years back. During that time, I began to study RSO oil (Rick Simpson Oil) and its potential benefits. Rick Simpson Oil was created by a man named Rick Simpson and he was diagnosed with stage 3 skin cancer back in 2003. He created his own full-spectrum oil out of the whole plant through an alcohol extraction process. He applied the RSO oil to his skin and cured himself of stage 3 skin cancer. My father lived in Egypt at the time and I attempted to convince him to come back to the States so I could begin treating him with cannabis. Due to the lack of research done at that time, I wasn’t sure if it would work but I would do anything to save my dad’s life. Unfortunately, he ended up passing before he could come out to California. My passion for the industry revolves around my father and knowing the things I know now, I could have potentially saved his life or made him live a bit longer. The cannabis industry allowed me to find my purpose in life and my purpose in life is to help people with or without illnesses ranging all the way from minor to chronic by giving them a healthier alternative. Replacing pharmaceuticals with something as natural as cannabis.
My name is Coreyl Brave, CO-CEO/CCO of Ekstrepe.
“I’m working, I don’t have time to do interviews Edgar, Cannabis is still illegal where I grew up (East Atlanta).”
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge that we are facing in our industry is the stigma associated with marijuana and obtaining the proper licensing to essentially do things the right way. Most are aware that Licensing to legally operate in the cannabis industry requires a decent chunk of money and the proper connections. Not only the financial aspect is challenging but also properly and successfully operating is also a challenge. Why? One, because cities that allow cannabis operations to grant a certain amount of licenses. Two, some cities completely ban the operations of cannabis. It’s like playing tug a war.
Ordinances and regulations within certain jurisdictions also cause panic for the community that is not comfortable with the fact that cannabis is now morally & legally acceptable. The majority of the cities in Los Angeles county do not have any sort of equity program, which makes it harder for young entrepreneurs and minorities to become apart of the multi-billion dollar industry. Long Beach is a very progressive city and is rapidly growing as the days go by. Long Beach is very supportive and focuses on community growth. While providing as much guidance and hands-on efforts as they can.
Long Beach cannabis social equity benefits include :
Access to application workshops;
Expedited application review;
Expedited facility plan checks;
Cultivation tax deferrals.
Equity Incubation Program which involves all equity cannabis businesses operating within Long Beach’s jurisdiction to help with any hurdles an equity recipient may experience. Although with all the amazing benefits for equity recipients, most of the barriers are:
• Limited access to capital and/or real estate;
• Lack of technical expertise in business plan creation, accounting, regulatory compliance or other specialized fields;
• Inexperience in navigating the City’s permitting process;
• Lack of business connections to sell or purchase cannabis products;
• Limited exposure to new technologies in the cannabis industry & the fact that with the incubation program was specifically designed to time tackles these barriers, most operating owners will never respond to a call or email back regarding business plan guidance, business operation consulting, technical assistance and other support that could be needed such as connections and most importantly guidance.
I was approved by the city of Long Beach in late 2018 and shortly after sat in on a workshop meeting with the cannabis oversight, I was told that it would be a struggle to get the ball rolling and often most equity applicants hit a brick wall, in which was very true with my case. Cities will not allow you to go through the licensing process which regularly takes 9-12 months of approval. The worst part is, you can’t even operate at all while going through the licensing process. The licensing, inspections and property alone require a minimum of 5 million dollars or more of capital.
Please tell us about Ekstrepe.
1. The pseudoscientific principle that life will expand indefinitely and in an orderly, progressive way throughout the entire universe by the means of human intelligence and technology.
Ekstrepe is applying for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distribution licenses and will be conducting business in Long Beach, CA.
Ekstrepe will have the ability to vegetate up to 1,000 plants and flowers concurrently. Ekstrepe is dedicated to manufacturing the cleanest, safest, and premium quality cannabis, cannabis-infused products, and cannabis concentrates. The company will distribute products through wholesale transactions to qualified, licensed and Ekstrepe vetted cannabis establishments.
Ekstrepe is a new and soon to be upcoming vertically integrated cannabis supplier, including a cultivation, extraction and processing facility in Long Beach, CA. Ekstrepe believes concentrates are the cleanest, most accessible way to consume the most beneficial aspects of the cannabis plant alongside edibles and topicals. Ekstrepe intends to start manufacturing concentrates, edibles, and topical products in Long Beach, CA.
Ekstrepe was originally founded to serve the Adult Use and Medical cannabis communities in California as a distribution company. Ekstrepe will carry an extensive product portfolio which includes flowers, concentrates, edibles, disables and accessories from award-winning brands. We create an efficient supply chain by acting as the intelligent hub sitting between retail dispensaries and brands who cultivate and manufacture the products they sell. We will offer flexibility in the form of three unique programs for cultivators, processors and manufactures.
Own and operate a cannabis cultivation facility the state of California to produce a high- grade cannabis products for affordable price. Curate partnerships with brands from all over the country. To be able to facilitate exceptional business to our brands and partnerships backed by top of the line products in flower, concentrates, and more. Ultimately, be fully compliant with all state and local municipalities and be primed and ready for national expansion as federal laws adjust and evolve to the benefit of the cannabis industry as well as the American economy. To be supplying on of the best cannabis products in California to dispensaries and retail stores. To help our brand partners achieve greater market penetration through a superior approach with high volume retailers. Making sure this industry is still has culture in it.
Ekstrepe transcends the notion of supply. Facilitating means of which buyers and sellers participate in an exchange of more than just goods and services but of empowerment. Supply not just the market’s most innovative and highest quality products but also perpetuating a greater purpose in serving a disenfranchised majority of people in Long Beach.
To Becoming a household name brand in the relatively new marijuana industry in the Long Beach area. Providing low to high-quality marijuana products at a fair market value. Creating a new and innovative infrastructure on how cultivation and distribution business conduct business in the Long Beach area. Establishing an ecosystem that isn’t determined solely by profits and margins but by social awareness. Intertwining social responsibility at the core of Ekstrepe’s value system creates a larger purpose for the expansion of its products and services. Intent on partnerships and philanthropy based initiatives that directly influence the disenfranchised in the Long Beach area.
Partner with local programs and nonprofit organizations that subsidize public school systems. Getting cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distribution licenses.
Throughout the years of building a business plan, I also have built a small team of young entrepreneurs that are in all realms of industries, such as the entertainment/music, fashion, legal/political, Financial, cannabis, & consulting/marketing industry. with all the knowledge, resources, energy and abundance, it makes the process of becoming fully operational much more closer then ever imagined. The names of the remaining CEO’s of the company include Stephan, Michael, Imad, Brave, Dj, Robert, Matt.
I believe what sets us apart from all the other cannabis industries that are running the cannabis industry is solely the fact that we instill passion, culture, knowledge, sweat and tears & a soul with our dream. We don’t look at the already knowing monetary cash cow this comes with already, Our main goal is educate, build, create and change laws with the monetary benefits the business will endure for not our selves, but for the younger generations in low poverty cities as well as the past generations that still are unjustly criminalized by an industry which is now legal and operated by a demographic condemning the industry in the first place. Ekstrepe is an asset to our people. Changing lives will be our biggest, proudest and greatest accomplishment.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Daydreaming about the life we’re now leading.
- Phone: 562-341-4256
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @Ekstrepe
- Twitter: @GvnrCruz