Meet the Masterminds Behind Cannavative

Written by BlackbirdGo December 1, 2016
The People

We sat with Kristin Ehasz, Vice President of Sales & Community Outreach, and Alex Taracki, Chief Operating Officer of The CannaVative Group, to chat about the Nevada cannabis industry. The two combined bring a breadth of experience and have successfully debuted one of the most successful CBD product lines in the nation. Both Silver State transplants, the pair relocated to Nevada to share their cannabis expertise with our budding industry and have helped grow one of the most respected production facilities in the state.

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How did you get into the Nevada cannabis market?

KRISTIN: We came into the Nevada cannabis scene in the spring of 2014. We were contracted by CannaVative to be their industry experts through the company that we were originally working with which was called Mad Pharma. After the licenses were awarded and construction was underway, we had a separation from one of our previous partners. He retained the facility that we had in Oregon, and Alex and I retained the relationship here in Nevada... and we've been working with them ever since.

How did you get into the Nevada cannabis market?

KRISTIN: We came into the Nevada cannabis scene in the spring of 2014. We were contracted by CannaVative to be their industry experts through the company that we were originally working with which was called Mad Pharma. After the licenses were awarded and construction was underway, we had a separation from one of our previous partners. He retained the facility that we had in Oregon, and Alex and I retained the relationship here in Nevada... and we've been working with them ever since.

Do you like the industry in Nevada?

KRISTIN: I love it. It's been very interesting coming from the Oregon and Colorado cannabis scenes where there was more of a developed market. The scene here really isn't as developed, so there has been a big opportunity for us in the means of education and for our CBD line which is a new concept to a lot of patients in the state.

Tell us a little bit more about your CBD line and product development at CannaVative.

ALEX: We have sixteen different CBD strains that we're working with at CannaVative; ranging anywhere from 10-to-1 CBD-to-THC all the way to 30-to-1 CBD-to-THC. We are always trying to have the best, most innovative products on the market. I enjoy doing research and development and trying to put different products out there — but mostly CBD. We have had such great success in treating so many patients.

KRISTIN: CBD is a non psychoactive form of cannabis. It's great for pain relief, seizures, anxiety, PTSD. We've even had success with cancer patients.

Any favorite stories about patients who have been helped with CBD therapy?

KRISTIN: We have a ten year old here locally in Reno, and he's functioning at a five year old level because of his daily seizures. Cognitively his mind's just not there. He was very spaced out when his parents would talk to him. He was going to school, but he wasn't retaining any information. We started working with him last year, and for the first time in his whole life he took two toy cars and used his imagination to make them speak to each other. His teachers called his parents to share that story, because they knew he was on the cannabis treatment plan. It's stories like that that really keep us going — keep motivating us to be innovative when creating products that can help people like him.

Is there a lot of education involved in the community outreach you do?

KRISTIN: Yes. A lot of people don't understand. They think CBD, and they want to feel better; but they don't understand they're not going to feel high. When a patient takes CBD for the first time it's kind of a difficult concept because to them. It's marijuana, so they're expecting to feel this head high along with their relief. They're not feeling that head high — so there's a big education component on the CBD. Talking about the terpenes, and how you should expect to feel like you're taking an Aleve or an antidepressant more than smoking a high THC joint.

With recreational rolling out how are you scaling your recreational grows?

ALEX: We have an additional number of pods we're going to put in and then an additional 100,000 square feet of greenhouses that are going to go outside to serve just the recreational market. We have huge room for expansion. As of right now to prepare for recreational we're already starting to put some flower on the market. With the first phase we had so many different oils, we just did not have enough product to sell any flower, but that's changing and being rolled out as we speak. We have some awesome genetics so it's going to be super exciting.

Are there any exciting products we can expect from CannaVative?

ALEX: The CBD crystalline product. It will be 99.9% CBD in the form of a crystal. CannaVative's spin on that product is that we're going to mix it with THC derived terpenes. So we will have a 99.9% CBD crystal with a little bit of THC flavor. So it's going to have no THC, but it's still going to have all those effects of either indica or sativa — all depends on what terpenes we mix them with. That's coming out as we speak.

How can we improve the Nevada industry as a whole?

ALEX: If I could call a grower or five growers and say: "This month I'm going to feature this strain, this strain and this strain. Make sure you don't feature the same strains. Or let's make a plan for the next six months. What are you going to do? What am I going to do? Let's not do the same thing. Let's talk about it.

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