The Ghost Drops of Previous, Current, and Future: A Hashish Christmas Story

Unique Artwork By Anthony Haley

As the top of the 12 months 2022 approaches and we start the cusp of 2023, I write this story in hopes that almost all of us within the hashish {industry} will replicate on the teachings A Christmas Carol has ingrained in all of us. Most within the rising hashish {industry} most likely really feel akin to Bob Cratchit, making an attempt to feed our Tiny Tim’s whereas quietly, or not so quietly resenting these Scrooges on the prime. 

For the aim of this text, the quantity of hashish corporations that went underneath previously calendar 12 months will likely be metaphorically representing the chained ghost of Jacob Marley. Jacob Marley, who warned Ebenezer Scrooge, who will likely be for the sake of this text representing company hashish, that he was going to be visited by three ghosts. 

If The Ghost of Christmas Previous arrived to indicate Scrooge his hashish previous, they’d most likely level to the commotion, panic, and disruption brought on by Toronto-based hashish firm Ghost Drops. An organization who within the matter of a 12 months, seemingly outsmarted the competitors, dominated retail gross sales, and adjusted the narrative of weed in Canada endlessly. They did so just by being true to what they imagine and who they’re. 

The Ghost of Christmas Previous would convey that till Ghost Drops got here alongside, a lot of the hashish {industry} in Canada was targeted on the outdated narratives first set out by big billion-dollar licensed producers. “Educating” the general public by telling them that anybody concerned in weed earlier than legalization was a bunch of hippies, thugs, and stoners hiding within the shadows or underneath stairwells.

As a lot as they have been proper about us, The Ghost of Christmas Previous would additionally level out that the hippies, thugs, stoners, and shadowy stair-dwellers considered company hashish as overspending predatory buyers. A bunch of shiny-shoed idiots who thought they may outsmart the “legacy market” by promoting mid-grade hashish at premium pricing. Not realizing that the buyer might inform the distinction even when they couldn’t. 

I assume in hindsight we have been each proper.

Nevertheless, the supposed spirit of this piece is to return collectively. Not proceed to level fingers, sabotage, or work in opposition to one another within the hashish {industry}. In any case, the teachings we study in any {industry} are transferable. A sentiment that has at all times rang true with the founders of Ghost Drops. 

The Ghost Drops of Christmas Previous

Unique Portray of John Dean Durante by @anthonyhaleyart

The story of Ghost Drops begins with John Durante and Travis “Organik” Fleetwood and dates again to their early days rising up in Bolton, Ontario. A small blue collar city with small blue collar city issues. Each Fleetwood and Durante began hustling as younger youngsters—as most in small cities do. 

As a teen, Fleetwood discovered a love for hip-hop and began battle rapping on the web, pre-social-media. Fleetwood’s ardour for limericks discovered him success as a self-professed “skinny white child”. He shortly made a reputation for himself on the web and commenced competing. He even made it so far as battling on the BET Spring Bling, which he gained in 2009, however didn’t obtain honors as a consequence of not becoming their goal demographic. Nevertheless, Fleetwood considers being underestimated as a youth a pivotal level in serving to him construct drive and character. “My biggest function is constantly being underestimated,” he stated.

With little course, Durante took a special path and joined the navy when he was 19 and served for 4 years. Within the navy is the place he discovered the rewards of self-discipline, laborious work, and perseverance. Little did each know, they have been growing the transferable expertise that might later assist them to construct a wildly profitable hashish firm. 

Throughout this time, Fleetwood had launched what grew to become the King of The Dot (KOTD). Battle rap showcases and competitions that might flip the heads of not solely one of the best in Canadian hip-hop, however demanded the eye of the worldwide rap neighborhood as nicely. KOTD steadily grew to be one of many largest battle rap leagues on the earth, showcasing a few of the finest expertise hip-hop needed to supply, gaining international respect, and finally making content material offers with Amazon. 

When Durante completed serving within the navy, the 2 childhood buddies reunited. King Of The Dot had blown up and Durante was discovering success in development. Nevertheless, hashish was at all times a real ardour for each of them. 

In 2017, the 2 lifelong buddies secretly began Ghost Drops. Each had expertise hustling, however they needed to start out one thing inventive whereas curating a singular expertise for the hashish shopper. The concept was to start out a weed firm that might function and spotlight the true rockstars of hashish: growers, cultivators, and the seed-crackers. Those who would threat all of it to convey one of the best hashish to the plenty. They might characterize one of the best cultivators and the cultivators might stay ghosts, therefore the identify, Ghost Drops. The 2 introduced new consideration to award-winning cultivators by assigning customized artwork, “illustrations,” and design to every of their develop  companions.

Ghost Drops’ popularity grew to become an establishment in street-level hashish in Toronto and so they shortly grew a nationwide following, serving their large buyer base largely by mail order. 

Ghost Drops on-line mannequin functioned as a hub connecting their respected growers with a brand new viewers, one thing Fleetwood already knew how one can construct from his time with KOTD. Fleetwood and Durante continued to develop Ghost Drops, however by no means affiliated publicly in order to not complicate their already sophisticated lives. 

Ghost Drops continued to function on this vogue till they got here throughout Gene Bernaudo in late 2020. 

Bernaudo had beforehand been the President of The Ignite Company—a company which is famously affiliated with the ever-polarizing determine Dan Bilzerian, who, in your humble narrator’s opinion, presents extra as somebody who needs to be promoting cocaine relatively than hashish.

Bernaudo managed to construct a world community underneath the Ignite banner till he determined to search for one thing new. He was then launched to Durante and Fleetwood by a mutual pal. His curiosity piqued as he had at all times needed to be in hashish, and that wasn’t the course Ignite had taken. 

Bernaudo noticed main potential in taking Ghost Drops’ grey market platform to the legalized market.

The 2 events started to really feel one another out. A vetting course of which was briefly held again when Bernaudo urged that Fleetwood and Durante go public because the faces behind Ghost Drops. A proposal that isn’t typically enticing to black market weed sellers. 

A testomony to Bernaudo’s ingenuity, Durante and Fleetwood agreed to maneuver ahead and the group had critically begun working collectively by early 2021. 

With Bernaudo on board the workforce now had the know-how to convey Ghost Drops to the legalized hashish market. That they had a plan on how one can scale the operation, and so they needed to incorporate everybody within the {industry}. A sentiment that struck an enormous chord with Bernaudo, as being a pioneer in authorized hashish doesn’t come with out battle scars, “What Ghost Drops was doing was catering to the buyer, not like the remainder of the {industry}, who have been catering to their stability,” Bernaudo stated. 

The Ghost Drops of Christmas Current

Unique Portray of Gene Bernaudo By @anthonhaleyart

With a like-minded strategy, the brand new workforce got down to construct Ghost Drop 2.0: the start of the Ghost Drops we see as we speak. They might turn into the primary Canadian hashish firm to launch with pre-existing model loyalty and the differentiator of deliberate transparency. 

Via pre-existing partnerships, Bernaudo had the means to create a enterprise construction with plans to convey high quality genetics and curated merchandise that they not solely needed to place in market, however felt deserved consideration. Via well-vetted contract rising, Ghost Drops would construct an infrastructure with micro-cultivators, and established licensed producers alike. This might severely cut back the corporate’s overhead and provides Ghost Drops extra management of their messaging and expertise. A mannequin that many present upstarts have begun to emulate if not copy precisely. 

Rumors swarmed the hashish {industry} round what these legacy “Ghost Drop guys” have been as much as. 

A typical falsehood that unfold was that Ghost Drops didn’t care about packaging fines, in order that they put out fluorescent pink jars as a fuck you to compliance, difficult asinine shade restrictions set forth in Invoice C-45’s (Canada’s Hashish Act) advertising and marketing laws. 

Nevertheless, the general public would later study that Ghost Drop’s shiny pink branding was one Pantone lower than the outlined time period of “fluorescent.” Ghost Drops means to cleverly maneuver throughout the boundaries of presidency set regulation is one other level of delight for the corporate and by all counts, humorous as shit. 

Lastly, there was a weed firm in Canada keen to take probabilities. 

By the top of 2021, Ghost Drops had formally introduced they have been coming to market and the hype was actual. With Bernaudo in place as CEO, Fleetwood had publicly related his Organik persona with Ghost Drops taking inventive management of the corporate, and Durante had taken the position of President. The group was all in. 

Those that had identified beforehand about Ghost Drops founder’s affiliation with the black market model of the corporate, previous to the press launch, felt like they’d bragging rights. Those that came upon after the very fact have been thrilled that somebody they seen as a profitable artist, identified for giving individuals a platform, had additionally been supplying them with one of the best weed within the nation. Evidently the model caught hearth instantly. Some detractors cried “promote out,” however the sentiment was laborious to take care of when it grew to become obvious that the brand new post-Ghost-Drops-era of hashish in Canada had opened the door for everybody within the “legacy market” to take part in: Authorized Land.

Whereas billion-dollar licensed producers struggled to reinvent the wheel, Ghost Drops steam-rolled in on custom.

Ghost Drops shortly started dominating the market. They purchased their very own storefront in downtown Toronto, and inside months had shortly introduced a brand new program referred to as The League—a division of Ghost Drops deliberate on funding hashish startups, the legacy gamers who received them began, and hashish manufacturers they believed in. 

Instantly, company hashish began associating their manufacturers with the time period “legacy” in hopes that they may appeal to a few of Ghost Drops’ rabid viewers, credibility, and gross sales—a phenomenon I wrote about intimately in a bit referred to as “The New Narc”.

Nevertheless, rising quick doesn’t come with no few changes. Ghost Drops grew to become in such demand that their mandate of vetting one of the best growers to ship one of the best product needed to be reevaluated. This public pause in technique made a lot of these within the {industry} who have been envious of Ghost Drops delighted with glee. The pettiest of us have been hoping for failure as if Ghost Drops hadn’t already modified the sport endlessly—a hit in your humble narrator’s view that would by no means be taken away from its founders. 

The lesson that the Ghost Of Christmas Current would probably need us to study is that as a substitute of making an attempt to do what others are doing, concentrate on authenticity and servicing our personal viewers. Solely Ghost Drops may be Ghost Drops. 

What many didn’t consider is that while you construct one thing transparently, you earn your viewers’s belief and respect—one thing few licensed producers have been capable of keep. A supporter who doesn’t really feel talked all the way down to will at all times proceed to pay attention. 

Respecting their base is one other enormous level of delight for the Ghost Drops workforce.

The Ghost Drops of Christmas Future

Unique Portray of Travis “Organik” Fleetwood by @anthonyhaleyart

In November 2022, Ghost Drops took management of their very own future and introduced a serious growth with a ten,000 sq. foot processing and manufacturing facility. They’ve additionally taken management roles in educating the buyer and retailer alike on finest observe of ordering by way of distribution applications throughout the nation. Ghost Drops’ will proceed to curate one of the best cultivators, growers, and practices in an ever-improving {industry}, and are keen to assist anybody alongside the best way. 

Nevertheless, as Ghost Drops continues to curate a few of the finest hashish within the nation, Fleetwood and the workforce acknowledge that the tradition wants servicing as nicely. Their growth contains continued charitable neighborhood tasks, and so they’ve not too long ago initiated a song-writing camp referred to as Creatives 1st by Membership Blvd, a program designed to foster the careers of up-and-coming Toronto-based musicians.

In 2023, Ghost Drops’ plans embrace occasions reminiscent of a charity-driven industry-wide cannabis-infused poker match (March thirty first), which they hope will bridge the hole between neighborhood and communication amongst the {industry}. 

Maybe essentially the most thrilling is the return of KOTD to Toronto, one thing followers of Fleetwood have been clamoring for. Happening February twenty fifth, the return of KOTD is bittersweet for Fleetwood because it commemorates and honors legendary battle rapper and shut pal, Pat Keep, who was tragically murdered in early September of 2022.

Unique portray of Pat Keep by @anthonyhaleyart

If the Ghost Of Christmas Future appeared and pointed to our graves, it will be as a result of we didn’t acknowledge that irrespective of our opinion of Ghost Drops, they’re a high quality instance of what can occur when company, street-level, and advertising and marketing genius respect one another’s strengths. 

As soon as we begin recognizing one another’s strengths, we will then start to personal our weaknesses; we’ll be capable of construct a stronger hashish {industry} for all. 

An increasing number of we’re seeing that like Ghost Drops, it takes one of the best of all of us, a mixture of respect and distinctive expertise coming collectively and discovering success. 

When the Bob Cratchits and Scrooges of the world discover respect for one another, then the world will assist extra Tiny Tims. We are able to share and chortle whereas all of us smoke large ol’ vacation blunts and share a style of Scrooge’s large ol’ vacation Turkey (or most well-liked large ol’ plant-based complement). As soon as this occurs, we’ll lastly get again to what hashish is admittedly all about: getting excessive. 

And that’s how weed discovered Christmas.

The Finish.

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