Podcast

Breaking Through the Stigma of Medical Marijuana with Max Sobol and Steven Walman

Max Sobol and Steven Walman are founders of Max and Steven’s, a CBD-Hemp company that believes that everyone deserves superior quality hemp products, just as nature intended. Their commitment to helping you and your loved ones on the path to healing is their mission and always will be.

Join in on this episode as Max and Steven share their own story of jumping from corporate to the CBD-Hemp industry. Learn about the values and skill sets they adhere to as they continue to build their empire which has already shown many signs of success at the onset. Be inspired by their commitment and passion to help others within the industry.  Know the challenges of being in this industry so you know first hand how to go about this industry. 


Be transparent. Learn to be transparent. Once you learn to be transparent, then you have no choice but to be completely above board and operate something properly. That’s my opinion. – Max Sobol


Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include:

[03:19] – Sharing about what their business is, how they ventured into the CBD industry and how they got together as business partners

[08:51] – The values and skill sets that helped them in their venture from corporate to the cannabis industry

[09:39] – The pet peeves

[11:16] – The need to get the right partners

[12:08] – Accountability being their primary responsibility

[17:18] – What are the marketing techniques do they employ

[19:35] – Their ways of educating the consumers about the product

[21:32] – Helping people versus profit

[23:24] – On putting names and faces on your product

[26:58] – Frustrations they have in the CBD-Hemp industry

[30:52] – On being labeled as drug dealers

[33:25] – Sonia’s pledge of support to them and building businesses organically

[37:15] – What is their company’s brand mission

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Max Sobol

Connect with Steven Walman

Connect with Sonia Gomez

 

Transcript:

Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys? Welcome to another episode of the Hemp Revolution. I’m your host Sonia Gomez and we are here with some very special guests who I will introduce to you here in just a moment. Meanwhile, if you are new to the cannabis and hemp industry and perhaps you are looking for some information on how you can get into the green rush, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com or medicalsecrets.com if you are a patient looking for products and services that will transform the way that you feel and function every single day. Now, my guests today are going to be telling us a little bit about their business and their bodies and how they are helping to transform with their business and their products, how they are helping to transform the movement and transition from harmful medications and pharmaceuticals all the way through to holistic health practices and products that will change your life forever. Nothing comes better than the horses mouth themselves. So, put your hands together and help me welcome my guests for today, Max Sobol and Steven Walman. Hey guys, how’s it going?

Max And Steven:Great energy and exciting! We love it! We love it!

Sonia Gomez: Good! I love it, too! I’m so excited to have you guys on. I am an internet stalker. So I’ve been watching you guys a little bit of behind the scenes and decided to reach out and just like, you know, it takes cahones for a girl to reach out and be like, hey guys, do you want to jump onto this thing? So, I’m so happy to have you guys on this show. Thanks so much for joining us. Tell me a little bit or tell our audience a little bit about who you guys are, and what you’re doing in the industry right now.

Steven Walman: Sure, sure. Will you go Max?

Jump From Corporate to Cannabis Industry

We had a personal need for cannabis for our lives.-Steve Walman Click To Tweet

Max Sobol: Sure! So, Steven and I got together about five years ago. We started a business that we’ve been running successfully. And then about two years ago we saw an opportunity to specifically branch into the cannabis industry, lifelong cannabis users. You know, all about it. So needed a reason about two years ago to figure out a solution to basically help loved ones, family, friends, you know, something, an alternative to the pharmaceuticals that were hurting us and others. So, we decided to dive a little bit deeper. We got together and we put a brand together and we launched Max and Steven’s.

Steven Walman: Yeah. Both of our backgrounds is running companies Max, historically from the ad tech companies side of it and has many successful businesses from the IT software business. I grew a software company from there, so we had a lot of business experience and acumen and we knew how to run companies professionally. So when we had a personal need for cannabis for our lives, I mean, I’ve personally had inflammation issues where I was on anti-inflammatories, and we’re in Maryland. So when a medical program came to Maryland a few years ago, I went to the physician and they said, you know, Steve, what you need is CBD. And I said, well, isn’t there enough in the weed that I smoke now? Right. And he said, well, no, that’s when I started the journey of learning what it was. And, as everyone of your listeners and you are aware, there was a lot of misinformation out there about the plant.

And we wanted to be a beacon of hope for people to learn the truth about it and at least what is available. And we put our names and face on the company. So, it allows us to be accountable to everyone. So, everything that we do, we stand behind. And we felt that that was important for this space and the transition from it being  prohibited as a plant to it being embraced by everyone in the community. There’s a time period there in a transition that many people that can be involved in, should be involved to help that. So, we started the company to, one, touch people personally. So we do a lot of pop up events, people come from..we would do like winery events to a seafood event, to a community ge- together, elderly healthcare anywhere, you know, a day school charity race, anywhere, to talk to parents that have children on medication. Just to have those conversations. And then through that, also connecting to healers, such as, physicians or acupuncturist, energy healers, chiropractors, trainers, people that are leading in wellness and health that people listen to that are getting questions every day. My client-patient, fill in the blank said, will cannabis help me? And I have no idea. You know, they’re looking at me as a health expert and I have no idea. We’re not doctors, but we point him to the right place. We put them to the right resources, and help kind of facilitate that space so people can understand it’s all safe, natural, a great place to start versus, you know..

We took a long time to educate ourselves and really learn about the industry and learn about what the benefits of his products were. - Max Sobol Click To Tweet

Max Sobol: We did, we took a long time to educate ourselves and really learn about the industry and learn about what the benefits of his products were. And in the process of us educating ourselves, we basically got the chops to be able to do the leg work, you know, on that one up on people’s behalf. So, an educated consumer is ultimately what we strive for. So, a lot of times at the shows or different events, you know, people are asking those questions. They may not necessarily be customers of ours yet. Like, they look to us for the expertise and we’re happy to let them walk away. Being a more educated consumer and knowing what to look for when they want to buy a quality product. And I always challenge them. I say to them that not that, you know, take a look at all the products coming. Other companies put their names and faces on it, you know, it’s a big deal and credibility is..

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I love it. Okay, this is going to be a fun interview because most people are making some sort of jump. They’re coming out of the cannabis closet, they’re coming into the cannabis movement. Everybody wants to profit on the green rush back in the East coast. It’s a next level neck tie type industry. Everybody’s trying to figure out how to get VC money into the space. Right now, I’m talking, this is third generation investors into the space. So I’m going to dive into this with you guys a little bit because it’s not too often that we get to hear the, how can I say this? This is the East coast, this is big money perspective. Like New York is the hub, New York, LA. These are the, LA, the California hub, like we’re cool. Okay. New York, though y’all have said like the East Coast is a special breed of human being and there’s a very specific stigma that is associated with cannabis and consuming products that are outside of the system.

You know, pharmaceutical that your grandmother, your mom, like they’re not going to question you if you’re walking around with a bottle of pills, whether or not you’re abusing them, they’re not going to question you, If you’re drinking out all night with your friends, they’re going to sit down and feed you some pasta when you show up on Sunday afternoon. Bu, you know, that’s not true for everywhere where we have such vast exposure to big business mentality coming into the cannabis industry. So, I would consider you guys to be the third generation type entrepreneurs who are coming into the safe. You’re business savvy, you have success under your belt, the notches are there. How are you applied, when you made the corporate to cannabis jump? What are some of the main skillsets that you brought with you that are an advantage for you now in the cannabis space?

Values And Skill Sets Necessary To Thrive In The Cannabis Industry

Whether you're working on a million-dollar deal or a $50 deal with the consumer, that is how you do it. You've gotta be consistent, disciplined with everything. - Steven Walman Click To Tweet

Steven Walman: You know, the most important thing in any thing that I do in business is discipline. You have to be disciplined and have to have standards and  stick to them. And, for us and the strategy of running a business, there’s two things that have always made me successful. There’s skill development and there’s activity. So we’re constantly looking to ferret through the truth and find out that information and we’re staying busy, you know, and keeping each other accountable. But the thing about having a partner is you have someone to stay accountable to and through the roller coaster of running your own business, it really helps. So, I think those might be some things that it’s not necessarily anything other than what’s treated me well to this point. And keeping it simple.

The Pet Peeves

Max Sobol: There’s nothing that irritates me more than companies that are non-responsive, plain and simple. It’s interesting! He knows how I feel about this: vendors, companies, whatever. Yeah.

Sonia Gomez: Get passionate! And the thing about it is that this is one of my pet peeves too. So pretty mean.

Max Sobol: So, in previous lives I’ve run big companies with big organizations and there’s nothing that irritates me more than when a company has to respond to you and I don’t care what it takes, you happen to have your sponsor and you have to be helpful and you have to be accountable. You have to follow up. It’s recording. So, that ability to be able to connect with our customers and wholesale customers, retail customers or whatever, and the ability to be able to follow up with them intelligently, coherently, you know, consciously and really…

Steven Walman: Whether you’re working on a million-dollar deal or a $50 deal with the consumer, that is how you do it. You’ve gotta be consistent, disciplined with everything. And..

Max Sobol:  And, we took that a step forward. Sorry, we took that even a step further. Not only are they saying that, hey, we’re here for you. I’m here to educate you names and faces on here. You know what I mean? So, can hold us completely accountable when our phone rings, believe it or not, our toll free number, when that phone rings, both of our cell phones ring and he and I have a contest and see who can pick up that call first. And you know something, a lot of people would argue that’s not scalable, that’s not scalable. I would love to have that problem. But, I will do my darned best to continue picking up the phone saying, by the way with our emails, I mean this is how we run our company. And it’s very important, though. So, to your specific question about what’s a skill set that from previous lives, I mean a lot obviously, but that one specifically is just something that rings true in my head. I won’t accept it and I will not tolerate it and he knows that.

 

Getting The Right Partners

Steven Walman: I mean, I’m interested in farming. Like I love the farmer aspect of it and helping farmers and I’m fascinated with how the earth works and grows and how it’s works with people. But I have no experience growing, you know, and the science and the analytical chemists we met in the labs that we’ve, when we were vetting labs to extract the hemp, I mean the, the intelligence and experience that they have in their craft is amazing. There’s no way either one of us could compete with that. So, what we can do is we add the value of working with consumers, running into companies so it can stay in the long-term and partner with the right people. We have 20 years each experience of vetting partners, whether it be a customer partner or a provider partner or whatever you name it, you know, we have 20 years each experience vetting partners and that’s what we took to this. We wanted to make sure that we got the right partners in place, that we will always be there.

Accountability As A Tall Order

Sonia Gomez: Nice! I love it! I love how both of you guys went to, like, the mental fitness that it takes to run a company. These are not learned skill sets. You don’t get to pick these things up. And these are like fundamentals of somebody that this is woven into your fabric.

Max Sobol: It’s a marathon. It’s a constant marathon of ups and downs.

Steven Walman: And we do this with our own money, right? So that’s another thing. I mean, our end customer and money, when you buy our products, it’s funding our company and we want to, you know, that’s how we grow. And it’s a different mindset. You don’t have any cushion anywhere. There’s no safety net. You’re a hundred percent accountable. And, I have a family, Max has family, that we’re accountable to not only ourselves but to them and keep this motive. And now customers, cause we just launched our first product in March and we have over a thousand customers now and it’s accountability, you know, and we get calls at random. And, that’s why we get repeat business. That’s how we get referrals. And we don’t throw a bunch of money at internet advertising. Because it’s a long-term game for us. We’re not just looking for clicks and some short term business. It’s a trap. I mean it’s, it’s not a bad idea if you’re running that type of company. But for us and the way we see approach more as a regional approach, with hemp cause you know, in the areas where it can be grown, it’s. So long-term, you know, people are gonna want to find someone that they can trust and someone that they trust near them. And not that we wouldn’t accept business anywhere and we would want to work with everyone, but it could be reasonable. You gotta carve out your space.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I like it. I agree. I watch a lot. I never even considered myself to be an influencer and I still don’t even like that word because I think it’s been bastardized and sort of cheap and it’s like stripper to me, it’s like, oh, you’re an Instagram influencer. You’re a social media influencer, like you might as well just show me your boobs. Now let’s get to the good part. You know, like it feels like being a straight, it’s been cheapened. But I say this all the time. I cannot say this enough. People are buying people, not products and they don’t care about the products. There’s not enough diversity in the marketplace right now for them to care about the products they’re buying, that their commitment to you and the customer life-value that you are putting on to anyone who financially engages with your company comes from the high touch, high value that you’re able to put on the front end. And it’s way more than pretty packaging and fancy advertising. I don’t care if it’s on or offline, all about the connection, how you capture somebody’s attention, how you connect with them authentically and ultimately convert them into a sale. And you know, in the last 18 months we have some pretty remarkable results online, right? 18 months, a million followers, organically, 50 million people consuming our content. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people consuming our content on a monthly basis. You know, 30,000 organic views on a post. It’s just like crazy numbers and we don’t sell shit. We don’t have a product. We don’t have a fucking, like, there’s nothing that we’re out there being like buyer shit every day. Right? Whereas, like, I go on to Instagram and all these other influencers and they’re like, oh, it’s so hot today.

I’m like, fix please. No, I’m serious though. It’s just like, how do we raise the bar? How do we raise the standard and how do we stop prostituting, you know, while we’re trying to generate customers. And, so, like round of applause for you guys, thousand  customers on your first product coming out of the market, coming out of the gate in March. Talk to me about some of the logistics because we have a lot of budding entrepreneurs, pun intended, people who are, there’s a mixed bag of people who are consuming our content. There’s the patients whose lives are being transformed and they just, they just love to be on the in crowd and listening to the content. Thanks guys for listening. We have the budding entrepreneurs who, you know, like want to capitalize on the green rush. Maybe they have a little bit of money, maybe they’re going to go out and find the money. Maybe they’re just trying to figure out what their entry point is. And then there’s the established brands and businesses. Maybe they’re just getting started or they have a couple of years underneath their belt, some wins in there. They’re hitting a glass ceiling. Let’s talk about some of the things that you guys are doing because you’re not coming in here as newbies to a new market. You’re established, well established business professionals who are coming into a new market, bringing that, the focus, the mentality, the skill sets necessary to succeed. How are you guys effectively marketing your businesses right now? And I see that type of hockey stick growth in the first few months of your business. How are you advertising your business and what are some of the roadblocks or challenges that you’ve been in, confronted with trying to market or advertise?

Steven Walman: Yeah. Well, one of the things that we started doing was just the basic old school sales and marketing techniques that are from the book, from when we started, which are, you know, using the telephone. You use banging on doors and you set up and you do pop up events and you just talk to people and get in front of groups. So we make getting them into your community, getting out into your community.

Max Sobol: Organically one.

Steven Walman:  And it’s also, since it’s a new product, we didn’t, we’re still in the learning phase, so it’s realistic for us to still be asking a lot of questions. We came out with one product, so we have one simple, it’s a 10 mil, 500 milligram bottle. It’s the highest standards in the industry. But, so, we help people understand and focused one specific thing and how they can start their relationship with cannabis and learn about it from here instead of having a table full of stuff. And then this one, you can use it in multiple ways. You can topically, you can, we make it an easy discussion. But, we just start by talking to people and we are accountable to the numbers. So we make sure when we look at our calendar, we’re always looking for, and Max, his wife is great at this. She’ll send us links to events around town, in different communities. We’re around, you know, within 50 miles, let’s say…

Sonia Gomez: Hashtag deems fit.

Their Ways And Means Of Educating Consumers

Steven Walman: So, we look these up and we’ve talked to the group and CA, does it make sense for us to set up, let’s say, and we get out there and it’s not necessarily, we’re not looking for even a break even that day. Although we always do with every show we always ended up making good money. But it’s those relationships that we start, we don’t push product. We say, hey, we’d like information and we have a really good pamphlet that we have, it’s less about even selling. We’ve been doing, we did a farmer’s market where you couldn’t even sell the product. We just hand out information, let them taste it, and then a pamphlet that answers all the questions. So passing on information, get yourself known and you have to be patient at the same time. I mean, you always want it right away. And even though we’re happy, a thousand customers sounds great, you know, we still have a long way to go, for us to be honest….

Sonia Gomez: I’ll broke your fucking neck for those.

Steven Walman: You know, and, and you know, we’re seeing repeat business and we’re seeing those, those relationships continue and flourish. But you know…

Max Sobol: Every person that walks in front of you, you have some questions in the heart of CBD. I mean, chances are they’re going to be like, yeah, you know what I mean? Or if they haven’t actually heard of it, they’ll still say it. And then you have the opportunity to basically educate them. They’re all curious about it. They all know about cannabis, they’ve all heard about cannabis, we all just want to be educated. And I tell ya, every time that we’re able to have somebody walk away, just be a more informed consumer is a win in our book because of her shore goes with them. They have a name associated with a face associated with the company. I mean they just can’t ask for better syndrome.

Steven Walman: Yeah. And it’s not necessarily, you know, we talked about the green rush and like the next gold rush and there’s going to be a lot of money made here, but it’s not for everybody. It’s not, it’s not easy. It’s not an easy way. It sounded like, wow. Well if you have money and you give it to the right person and how do you know who the right person is? I mean, that takes energy time. You know, you gotta find out who the right person is. So even if you’re an investor, it may not be the best way. You may be saved for learning. You know, getting involved with someone that just knows how to manage your money better. And maybe that’s your part of your portfolio.

Max Sobol: And what’s your risk tolerance, you know what I mean? And they look at all these, we have all these issues lately. Well, not specifically, thank God, but people are having issues with banks, not covering cannabis insurance companies, not covering cannabis. I mean, again, this was about reputation. I mean, there’s going to be so many options.

Steven Walman:  Yeah. Hosted software programs that don’t support the hemp business and the cannabis business.

Max Sobol: So many opportunities for so many entrepreneurs and so much investor in angel and seed money and you name it, will come into this business. And the question is, are you putting it in the right hands? That’s really what it’s about.

Steven Walman: Yeah. FDA’s coming, you know, and dealing with FDA is going to be someone’s gonna need to have a strong stomach for that type of stuff. If there’s a lot of money to be made, a ton of opportunity, but I’d caution everybody, don’t just follow it because you think it’s the right thing. If you don’t really care about healing people and getting them off of the poisonous bills and the poisonous undertaking that they’re taking in and helping them live a better, healthier life. If you’re really not driven for that, then you know, you really may wanna be…

Max Sobol:  They’re just not going to win. It’s not going to happen. And we’ve seen that in other industries.

The Need To Help Other People, Not Just Exist For Profit

Sonia Gomez: There’s a daily kick in the nuts in this industry. I tell them, I tell people all the time, and I’m a little bit, I’ve been in this song, I’ve been in this business, I’ve been in this business a long fucking,..I’m from Northern California. My husband and I have been in this space for combined about 35 years. I’ve been friends with the guys since I was 11 years old when he ran away from his extremely affluent family, well-established family here in Colorado who’s been a part of, you know, the oil and gas boom. And I’m taking the healthcare revolution where they’re standardizing the processes that are still being utilized today keep systems working in hospital. I mean just that the history is incredible and he ran away as a black sheep to the humble Hills and you know, built his, his Emerald empire right there. And, I grew up running barefoot and in diapers through these big forests of cannabis. And it’s such a surreal experience to watch the evolution and to see across the board whether they’re brand newbies, they got five minutes in the industry and are investing their 401k to make it work. Or if they’re established business professionals and they understand like yourselves who are coming in, they have skill sets, they have the resources, relationships that they can leverage to grow as fast or as slow as they want to. And one theme that is constant, the message that is consistent and constant and I’m so super proud of is like if you’re not in this to help people get the fuck out of our industry.

Max Sobol: Absolutely!

Sonia Gomez: And I love that. It’s just like stone-cold phase. I’ve been in this space so long that it’s easy to see the people who are in it specifically for the profits.

Max Sobol: I see them all the time. Right. And I bet you see them all.

Putting Your Face And Names On The Product

For me personally, to be out there that way is a big change. And it just shows, you know, my level of confidence. - Max Sobol Click To Tweet

Steven Walman: Well, that motivated us to get in the industry, I mean, that’s why we saw people looking, me personally trying to find a product that’s credible.

Max Sobol: Yeah, that’s exactly why we got in this industry. We weren’t going to half ass it. I mean, we made sure that if we’re going to go in this, we’re going to go into this the right way and go in this the way that we actually expose ourselves and put our names, faces, contacting for me. I can’t stress that enough to understand how different that is. You know? I mean, look at the products that are out there. Show me someone else that actually puts their face on it. I think it’s a big deal.

Sonia Gomez: Sure! Well, you’ll be on the cheesy face on that.

Max Sobol: For me personally, to be out there that way is a big change. And it just shows, you know, my level of confidence.

Steven Walman: Now, we got a lot of names. You know, you go through the process of hardwood names. Are we going to put on our business. You know, we know we wanted to get into this industry. What name are we going to put in? We had a list of stuff. You know, you go to the website and you bind the URL just to make sure we have it, you know, so you get the full list and after all that it’s like at the end of the day it’s like we need to be accountable.

Max Sobol: You have that oh shit moment. You have that fuck that epiphany in the middle and fucking hell. Let’s just call it Max and Steven’s. You know what I’m saying?

Steven Walman:  And people don’t know who we are, but they will know who we are and they

Sonia Gomez: Like, I would wear that as like a shirt. Where’s my Max and Steven shirt? Like, I need a hat. Look, we have one right here. We’ll send you one of these. Have you seen the hats and the shirts?

Sonia Gomez: No, I haven’t seen it.

Steven Walman: Check it out.

Sonia Gomez: Yes.

Steven Walman: Wow! For both of you. We’ll hook you up.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I love it. Okay, cool. Hashtag hook up. I love it. You guys have already started to brush on it, but I know that there’s, I know that there’s more, so I’m going to agitate the pain point a little bit. What are some of you guys’s biggest frustrations as new entrepreneurs in the CBD space, but established business owners? You talked about the inconsistency in communication. I share that with you. It’s so hard to find people who are just like, yeah, bababababa. I’m totally gonna hook you up. And then they, you never hear from them again. Should I get that? Like, stuff happens but hit me up 72 hours later. Like the communication thing is so frustrating that’s  another challenge for me, I’m going to go first.

  Obviously another challenge for me is people, people over selling, over promising and under delivering, right? You know, like who are you going to trust your money to? Right? And so there’s, now all of a sudden I’m in all these like digital marketing groups. All of a sudden everyone’s profile pictures are changing to CBD marketing experts. And I’m like hearing these war stories from people who don’t have a lot of money, they don’t have money to lose. They’re trying to invest to create a legacy for their family and ending up in like really shitty situations or folks are taking advantage of them for being a self-proclaimed expert without a ton of experience or results numbers on the board like that. That’s the criteria. Do you get numbers on the board in this space? Right? If you do, great, here’s my money. If you don’t like please don’t falsely advertise to me. So those are my two biggest pet peeves. What are some of the things that just like really pissed you off as being new into new entrepreneurs and connectors in this space?

Frustrations Experienced In The Hemp-CBD Space

Max Sobol: I can start. I mean I have a lot of things, so, there’s a lot of irritating products out there to me, right? And I get this question all the time. People are like, why do certain products are specifically dog treats or why is this specifically a bomb or this that and the other end? We’re not even talking about lab reports or really any of the obvious stuff we’re talking about. Why are there a million different iterations with different products? My answer, and this irritates me is because you want to increase the skews, plain and simple. You could have jumped in one product that you can have junk in the other seven iterations that had shitty product and all you’re trying to do is basically just multiply the skews and maybe get into a good box or something like that. Us, for two years we’d been bringing home formulas, tinctures and oils and testing it on ourselves, our entire families on my dog, on his kids. I mean you name it, extended family. It wasn’t until we actually had something that passed the test for us that we were comfortable slapping a brand and putting out there to buy. What irritates me are these companies that are again are just looking to make that quick book. We’ll just release something completely crappy and then take you on a wild goose chase to make it, to make a hunt for the COA or on for anything that you’re actually interested in learning about the product. So that’s a huge irritability, both for me. And I feel like there was an immense opportunity to add credibility to that space as a result of that stupidity because it wasn’t clear.

Sonia Gomez:  Yeah, you can’t. Yeah. This is so fun for me, man. I mean, try my first rodeo.

Steven Walman: My frustration if we’re talking specifically with this industry is the business professionals that are surrounding the industry, don’t know the details and they don’t, they’re lazy. So we had an event scheduled and they said, well, we’re not allowed to, have you been here because you have a consumable product and we use it in your mouth so you can only support this event if you have a topical product, right? So if you have CBD lotion, that’s fine, but if you have CBD under the tongue, we can’t do that. And, why is that? And we just don’t get a clear answer and there is really no, and that’s what irritates me is people don’t look and say, well, you know that it is federally illegal. So, we aren’t doing anything illegal and we’re not making any suggestions. But, people that just blindly don’t even consider what the truth of the situation is, they’re even considering that there is an option that makes sense versus just a completely writing it out. It’s the roadblocks that we face in the industry and it comes in marketing, banking, insurance. I mean all of those types of environments. So retail locations are going to be located. Is

Max Sobol: That all those different problems? They want a piece of the action, right? They want to make them money in the deal somehow and they would want to take your money. But the problem is they haven’t figured out yet how to put themselves in an inappropriate way because of the ambiguity the industry as it stands currently. Well, you better believe that the minute that those doors open, we’ll be the first ones writing checks and you know, offering to sign you up when their bank account, their loan, their insurance policy, this, that and the other. And again, so the frustration is the ambiguity of the industry and the fact that there’s not a lot of clarity. Not only, but it’s the ones that get in the way and have no real basis for it. I mean, there’s really no reason why they’re not, they just aren’t challenging it. And you know, it’s a lot of the questions we get, like people ask, am I going to pass the drug test with it? Well, talk to your HR director and find out and talk to them about cannabis and how it’s helping you and have those conversations. I think that’s probably the most frustrating to me. That people go, don’t want to fight for their themselves. They’re just lazy. They want other people to take the brunt, This is just completely misinterpreted. So we’re completely comfortable talking to people and educating people and telling them about the benefits of this product. The problem comes when..

 Steven Walman:  Well, they don’t listen when they’re not, when they don’t, when they’re not coming to the table. Genuinely wanting to hear your response.

Max Sobol: You know, that’s okay. Well, if that’s your attitude and that’s your opinion about it, then I understand your problem. I’m probably not the one you should be talking to, but if you prefer to stay on this, are you, it’s maybe like the tribe.

On Being Labeled As Drug Dealers

More people see us as drug dealers than see us as people trying to help.-Steven Walman Click To Tweet

Steven Walman: Yeah. More people see us as drug dealers than see us as people trying to help, and I think that’s the current status of at least what’s going on on the East coast. We’re talking East Coast, when you live in a whole different universe. Yeah. The pace is different here. You know, we’re in Baltimore. It’s not quite like New York and New York thinks we’re, we’re kind of in the middle. But people are pretty close-minded. It’s hard to break that shell, which motivates us.

Sonia Gomez: Well, you guys are in the motherland, at this country. Like, that’s where everything originated. So you got, we have a similar problem here. We have a bunch of know-it-alls but they’re just, know-it-alls on a different run.

Steven Walman: The exciting part is, the farmers and the people that run the land around here are excited and we want to play a role in helping them, you know, utilize their land again in the way that it can be profitable for them because they’re hard workers. And there’s a lot of farmland around in Maryland. We’re really excited about that.

Max Sobol: I’m also excited about the fact that like I’m helping a 75-year-old sleep better at like for example, the 75-year-old doesn’t want to get high. I mean I’ve just, as one example of thousands, you know, but this one 75-year old doesn’t want to get high, so she prefers to actually take our products so she can sleep better at night. And, you know that’s what she’s going to tell her friends. And that’s essentially how we’ve been, we’ve gotten our reputation, at least locally. We’re nowhere near national yet, you know, but locally we had that recommendation.

Sonia Gomez: I love it. I absolutely love it. I’d like to extend to you guys. I always have, like, a little thing up my sleeve. So, I’m super excited for your guys’ growth. If you guys want to shoot me over some information about your product or send it to me to test and try. I have multiple distribution channels that are constantly looking for my seal of approval on products. And, like, right now I could connect you with five or six different locations, some of which are local to you that you could build a personal relationship with. And I just think it would be such an incredible, you know, such an incredible value-added for the businesses that I’m currently serving, but also for you guys. And ultimately it’s about who you know and how you gain exposure. And I work with folks who are like-minded, committed to excellence, really serving the community with education, connection, capturing the attention of these otherwise adverse communities. And it is starting to infiltrate of the mentality that would otherwise close companies like us out. So if that’s something that’s interesting to you, I’d be happy to make those contacts for you.

Steven Walman: Absolutely! And, we take referrals like they’re very sacred. We’ll treat them with thick gloves and very special. We have the best lab report in the business. Once, we carry around everywhere to teach people how to read it, we’ll be happy to treat everyone as their family. No, but we appreciate that. That means a lot.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely! Anything that I can do to help the budding businesses, I mean, it’s hard enough to feel like you’re going at this alone and that you’re setting a new standard and you know, that the entrepreneurial-ism can get, for me, it gets lonely sometimes when you feel like you’re the pioneer, you’re the one that’s willing to take the arrows in the back. You’re the one that’s willing to take the scrub. You know, the scrub cuts on the front end while your machete chopping down all of the bushes and trying to figure out like what’s the clearest path or the fastest path to impact in income. And it’s a fine line. You know, there’s a lot of people who are willing to compromise the impact so that they can get closer to the income and vice versa. There’s a lot of companies who are just so committed to the efficacy and performance of the product that they never make any profit and their message and their mission dies with them.

You know? So for me, and you know, a lot of what we were, a lot of our mission and legalize it, don’t criticize it and medical secrets.com has everything to do with bringing the truth about cannabis and hemp to our consumers so that we can make empowered, educated decisions about the products that we are using to transform the way that we feel and function every day. And it’s by highlighting businesses, like yours that allows me to make the impact that I want to make in the world. So thank you guys for the work that you’re doing and, and the arrows that you’re taking and how you’re forging that path into a really very difficult market. The East coast is a very difficult market and you guys are doing great stuff. I mean thousand customers. That’s fantastic. I’m happy to share some stuff with you guys to offline that have worked really well for us and how we’ve worked organically built our following and customer base. We don’t even have physical products, but we have people who are just steadfast, super committed to everything that we do and trust us within an inch of their life, you know, to make those types of recommendations. And you guys have the makeup to build that same kind of culture, and community around your product and you’re right, putting your face and your name on it, that’s the hardest part. Building up the confidence to do that, you know, is the hardest part to say, this is me, this is us, this is we, and or for you, by us. Here we go.

Steven Walman: Yeah. So, you’re building this organically, right? I mean, we’re kind of building the business organically through true value relationships and  we’re always open to in a situation where we can add value and that drives us. So, you know, kudos to everything that you’ve done and taking those arrows in the early days because honestly, you know, the legislation changes for a reason and it’s because a lot of those voices over the years that have shown up to events and have lobbied and written letters, I mean, how many states now have medical programs, you know, a lot of them are 34 and that’s going to continue to grow. You know, the federal legalization of hemp has say we do.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally. I love it. I have, I just wanted to ask you guys, tell me what I do not know about Max and Steven’s, I want to hear about your guys’ mission. What’s your message and, what’s your mission as a brand and as a company? What are you setting out to do right now?

Max and Steven’s Mission Statement

Steven Walman:  For us, it’s really about helping people make the connection, a sacred relationship to cannabis. We want to take the stigma away from cannabis and to allow that stigma to go wish that you can heal yourself naturally so that we have an alternative to things that are more harmful and alternative for people who don’t want to go that route. And then we want to make sure that you can become the animator. Repeat this. I know, said this, the most educated consumer about cannabis that we could possibly make.

Right? And it does spill outside of cannabis if you really think about it, because it’s not just cannabis. Cannabis is a tool to help you live a better life because there’s diet, exercise, healthy relationships, loving people. But it’s just a piece of a huge pie. And, so, it’s more breaking that ice between candidates. But what other areas of your life could you benefit from breaking the wall down a little bit? You know, maybe there are some other things in your life that that’s been holding you back, that maybe you didn’t take it because you thought you knew the way it was supposed to be or because that’s the way you’ve been taught. Right? So breaking that mold, I guess if you want to make it something bigger you know,  that really is what it’s about. It’s not just about cannabis. It’s really everything that you do, living the best life you can. You know, there’s a lot of people struggling out there and it’s just, it’s plenty of customers for everybody. I know they talk about the rush, it’s so competitive. But there’s still millions of people sitting in there, you know, popping pills or not popping pills and just being depressed and just, you know, not living their full life, having a great skill and not offering it to the world because they’re too afraid to get out of the house.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally. I love it. Well, I can’t wait to celebrate this success. We’re going to continue to follow your guys’s stories. I’m going to get you guys connected to some of these retail outlets cause I think it’s just someone’s so important for us to be in support of one another. We have a mentality here is together as one. And you know, there’s been a, there’s been a bit conversation for me. I’ve been asking this question over and over again. I won’t ask it here, but in our, in our followup interview, I will ask it, you know, we’re holding ourselves and each other to such a high standard when it comes to cannabis and hemp consumption. And when it comes to basic necessities around food and water, basic necessities that we need, the same is not there. And, a consistent answer that I get back is that big businesses taking it over and we lost control of our food industry, of our water, just these basic necessities.

And so my mentality around that together as one movement is really about how we help to raise the bar and set the standard of operation so that together as one we can rise and indeed, as an industry keeping the control without big business setting their profit tier, you know, standards in our way that prevent us from doing the things that we want to do that make us feel the most passionate and inspired and how we’re serving, serving our families and communities. So that’s why with an open heart and just, I offer you guys an opportunity to distribute your products through our connections and cause I believe that that would be a really great value add for new business and I want to continue to serve however we can. Please, please see me as a resource. And as a contact here because again, we’ve been pioneers in legislative development, owning and operating one of the first licensed dispensaries interfacing with millions of consumers from around the world. And we have an outlet a place where you guys do feel safe and comfortable to get information but also provide information and products, that can continue to help transform the way that people feel and function on a daily basis. So thank you for your amazing work in the world. Any last words for our listeners before we end today’s show?

Max Sobol: Be transparent. Learn to be transparent. Once you learn to be transparent, then you have no choice but to be completely above board and operate something properly. That’s my opinion.

Sonia Gomez: I like it. That’s some last words we’d ask you, to trust us. But we’d rather you just try it for yourself.

Yeah, we’d ask you to trust us, but we’d rather you try for yourself. I love it. I love it. Well, you guys, this is another amazing interview in another rock star episode of the Hemp Revolution. I’m your host, Sonia Gomez. If you are in the industry or starting to consider jumping into the green rush, check us out on the emeraldcircle.com and medicalsecrets.com for more information about how you can be a part of the change that you want to see in the world. I’m your host, SoniaGomez and we’ll see you on our next episode. Peace for now.

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