For Harry Resin, working in the cannabis industry has been quite a trip.
After spending some two decades growing, breeding and writing about pot, the 44-year-old entrepreneur now has his sights set on another niche industry — psychedelics.
Resin, an early nductee into the High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame, recently inked a deal between his startup — Super Smart — and Pharmadrug Inc., a medicinal research company based in Toronto.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Resin revealed to Benzinga tons of background info on the transaction and the combined company’s strategy going forward.
“The approach we are trying to take is to eliminate the stigma associated with magic mushrooms,” Resin told me. “By having one-on-one consultations with our customers, we will be able to educate them and offer them a more informed experience.”
Below, Oakland-based Resin chats about the “party drug” stigma surrounding psychedelics, his plan to bring “cutting edge” products to market, and why “microdosing” with mushrooms will eventually become mainstream.
BZ: How did the merger with Pharmadrug come about?
HR: I’ve been active in the cannabis sector for a long time and was approached by some investors in Canada to spearhead this new project. They came to me for my years of experience working in Amsterdam.
With my experience as a supply chain coordinator for many of the Dutch coffeeshops, I have a unique understanding of working in a deeply regulated sector like the Dutch smart shop industry. Many of my contacts are involved in that industry so it was a natural fit. This is what led me to the team and putting the SuperSmarty deal together. By luck, an old friend of mine’s husband was the CEO of Pharmadrug and we got to talking. One thing led to another and we had a deal.
What made it a great fit?
It’s a great fit because with Pharmadrug’s license, we will have a two-pronged approach: The smart shops in the Netherlands will allow us to build a recreational model selling magic mushrooms, while Pharmadrug will allow us to import alternative plant-based medicine to pharmacies throughout Europe.
Do you still write, or did you transition completely to being CEO of Super Smart?
I still write and I’m still active in cannabis. I pride myself on being at the forefront of industries making the leap from the counter culture to the mainstream. So for me there was a natural evolution with cannabis and psilocybin.
Additionally, the work we are currently doing in cannabis with extraction technology and water solubility will drive product development and brand building in the psilocybin space. By having a retail presence in a legal market like the Netherlands, we will be on the forefront of releasing new products in the space. We are going to work with a strong advisory board in order to also help develop new products in the space. All of which we can test in the legal market in the Netherlands.
Like cannabis, there’s a stigma attached to psychedelics – at least in the U.S. What should skeptics know?
As with cannabis we need to look beyond the stigma and beyond the false information circulated during the global “war on drugs.” Psilocybin is currently going through a renaissance because more and more people are realizing it can be used medicinally rather than solely as a party drug. There are currently many studies being undertaken looking at the mental health benefits of microdosing and its become something very popular in the world of nootropics.
2020 has been a troublesome year for small business owners. What trends do you expect to see for the remainder of the year, and heading into 2021?
I see a combination of consolidation and more curated retail experiences. By interacting more intimately with customers and limiting the amount of customers coming into stores at one time, it will fulfill both the role of social distancing and of a more curated experience. The approach we are trying to take is to eliminate the stigma associated with magic mushrooms and by having one-on-one consultations with our customers, we will be able to educate them and offer them a more informed experience.
What about the industry surprises you?
I’d say the scientific advances are what probably surprised me the most. To go from smoking hand-rubbed hash and cannabis flower to dabbing THCA diamond crystals bathed in terpene juice is something else. That’s what excited me the most about psychedelics. It becomes the ‘what next.’
With our connections and my cannabis experience, we plan on being on the cutting edge of new products in the psychedelic space. Dosing eventually will be a crucial aspect of using the plant as medicine with replicable results. Therefore extracting psilocybin and developing new novel methodologies with which to use that extraction excite us and will be an important part of the future.
Any advancements so far?
Truthfully I was able to make rudimentary ethanol extraction that was dabbable and the effect was interesting. Stronger than a cannabis oil dab, but not quite hallucinogenic. This idea of microdosing and curating experience will be an interesting concept to play within the space. By having the strong retail arm in the Netherlands, we will have a vast sea with which to explore all the possibilities of new products and their interactions with our customers. We will also track our customers’ effects through questionnaires so that we can collect as much data as possible in an empirical way when it comes to product efficacy. This will also help us shape the future of the psychedelic industry and what will collectively come up with as the next advancement. To me that’s really exciting.
What lessons did you learn over the years?
The lesson I’ve learned is that acceptance is possible. I never thought that the counter culture would reach the mainstream. It’s great to see these plants and fungi that have been evolving alongside humanity — finally get the respect they deserve.
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