"I have been doing this from the start. After I served, I believed that would be the most American thing I could do but fighting the law for the last fifteen years to affect change and unlock the power of the plant to improve people’s lives has been a life’s journey. There is a place for everyone to step up, speak their truth, and do their part because the work to decriminalization and normalize cannabis continues."
I had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Rocourt, co-founder & CPO of Papa & Barkley. Guy is the Co-founder, and Chief Product Officer for Papa & Barkley, a cannabis wellness line with products ranging from topicals, to vape oils, to tinctures. Guy Rocourt is an experienced cannabis entrepreneur and an expert grower, extractor and product development practitioner. Guy has launched multiple companies in the cannabis space, and has deep subject matter expertise. Guy is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Navy veteran who served as a technician and helmsman on nuclear submarines. Guy has designed and built manufactured infused products facilities (MIPs) in California, Nevada and Colorado. In addition to his technical and scientiﬁc expertise, he is also an artist with the cannabis plant, continuously envisioning and creating new products. His creativity and understanding of the market and cannabis consumers provides deep insight into strategy, production, due diligence of potential investments and product development. Aside from his creative background and experience in product development, Guy was a long-time caregiver for Montel Williams and has also helped other patients with issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, cancer and epilepsy. His understanding of the life cycle of the plant and its ability to produce rich ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes has led him to craft wellness products (such as CBD/THC tinctures) with the goal of helping those suffering from chronic pain. Through his journey, Guy has unlocked the power of the plant to help those around him.
Thank you for joining us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 1998 I was the assistant director on a movie directed by Montel Williams. Working with Mr. Williams got me into cannabis advocacy through witnessing how cannabis helped him and others with MS, Crohn's and epilepsy. I soon started a personal indoor cultivation space. My passion for growing cannabis flowers grew with every person my flowers helped. I left the entertainment industry and started to pursue my passion of unlocking the power of the plant to improve people’s lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
It is very hard to identify the most interesting story. Everything in the cannabis industry is new and exciting. I will share one experience showcasing the normalizing of cannabis that I found particularly satisfying. As an advocate of cannabis I have waited a long time to see cannabis companies sponsor events like the alcohol industry does. Our company currently sponsors bike races in California. Standing in our Papa and Barkley bike gear next to the folks from Patron tequila really drove home how far cannabis and our company have come.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Early on, before licensing requirements where put in place, one of our employees brought in some infused brownies. He thought he was doing a nice thing. These brownies were placed unlabeled in the break room. As luck would have it a non-cannabis using employee ate quite a few of these brownies. While not very funny for the consumer of the brownies, the rest of the team had a few chuckles. The lesson here is always label your edibles clearly.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We continually seek out solventless ways to extract cannabis oil. Currently all of Papa and Barkley’s cannabis oil inputs are extracted using only water, ice and pressure. We are actively researching new clean extraction technologies.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
For me, my advocacy with Montel gave me a real voice in cannabis early on. I thank him for that. My wife Anea Bogue, however, was truly my main support system. She did not marry an outlaw, but chose to support one. Her ability to stay calm and support me during the days when police would take peoples kids away for growing cannabis is the only reason I made it through those dark times.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
The cannabis industry is part of a larger green movement. Companies would be wise to have good ties with this. Community service , sustainable practices, and good corporate identity are things that resonate with cannabis customers.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
Things that excite me:
1. The cultivation of cannabis to replace opioids for pain management.
2. Cannabis being used recreationally to abate alcoholism.
3. Cannabis culture influencing how we are good stewards of the environment.
Things that concern me:
1. The sale of CBD snake oil.
2. People capitalizing on CBD sales and demonizing the rest of the plant.
3. The fact the people are still in jail for cannabis.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
There are not really 5 thing I wish someone told me before I started this. Without ego, I have been in the cannabis game since before there were businesses. I have been building this industry and this business since day one. I might be able to tell someone else 5 different helpful things but there is not anything I wish someone told me because I’ve been making it up as I’ve been going along. Folks like me have been fighting and struggling, to have the right, to be allowed to have a business. At the first opportunity I did this in Denver and now I’m so happy to be back in my native California helping to grow the industry.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
The advice I would give other CEOs is that it is wise to have a deep understanding of cannabis culture. If you want to be a CEO of cannabis company but do not partake in the plant, you should probably rethink your position. The way to help employees thrive is to focus on your culture. A company that does right by their employees and their communities get better productivity out of their people.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I have been doing this from the start. After I served, I believed that would be the most American thing I could do but fighting the law for the last fifteen years to affect change and unlock the power of the plant to improve people’s lives has been a life’s journey. There is a place for everyone to step up, speak their truth, and do their part because the work to decriminalization and normalize cannabis continues.
Thank you for joining us!
About the author:
Len Giancola has over 25 years of experience in Executive Management and Business Ownership. Formerly a Managing Director of Global Securities Finance in New York, responsible for a $16 billion trading portfolio, he is now an Officer/Board Member of over 30 corporations. With well over $100 million in sales over the last decade, including a successful residential development company, vacation rental property management company and diversified investment and online technology portfolio, Len is a Founding Partner of MJ.com and is a frequent media guest on international podcasts such as Rich Dad Radio with Robert Kiyosaki along with many other entrepreneurial and mentorship vehicles