At Soulshine Cannabis, they do things a little different. Their vision is simple:
“Help create a happier, healthier, more socially conscious planet for all beings.”
All beings. Including the four legged, wagging tail and purring kind. That’s because the forefront of their mission is to assist all beings in being happier and healthier, and they support this by donating a portion of all sales to “rescuing, nurturing, and rehabilitating homeless and neglected animals.” That’s just where their consciousness for the planet begins. Before sales of their product, they must grow and package it. All packaging is environmentally friendly, using vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paperboard. Even the window film is biodegradable and barcode stickers made from sugar cane.
What it really comes down to, is these people do everything with passion. From the idea behind the company, to the ideals its employees uphold, Soulshine is not just the company name, its a way of being, an energy to bring to the table in everything they set out to do. Including helping the economy by always have hand trimmers, providing jobs for local people and giving more love to their product.
One of the most touching stories comes from their head grower, Lee Gentry, who talks about the work on his strain, Appalachian Power, a “heavy hitter” as he likes to call her.
Lee Gentry, is the mastermind behind Appalachian Power, a strain he created by crossing a female Lifesaver and Grape Punch male, creating Appalachian while also crossing a female White Widow with an Island Sweet Skunk male to create Power. Known to Gentry as his ‘babies’ he started breeding these two over the course of about 5 years.
“At one point I thought I was crazy, I was like maybe I should just give up. Maybe I have thrown away too much here, what am I doing?! But when Appy Power actually was born and came out, she was putting out so much trichome and so much intoxicating aroma, outgrowing everything in the room: and this was at about day 15, or about two weeks into flower, it was just off the charts, I knew right then and there; this one’s special.” -Lee Gentry, Master Grower
INTERVIEW with one of the founders of Soulshine Cannabis, Mike Mercer
- Tell us about your first experience with cannabis.
I was in the 7th grade ski school at Alpental Mountain. I smoked before boarding down, got totally high. It felt so different to ski down stoned, my legs felt like rubber.
- Most memorable experience with cannabis.
Coldplay at the Gorge
- Why/How did you get involved in the industry?
After being in mortgage banking for 18 years, I was looking for something different to do. Patrick (my partner) and I had worked together in mortgage banking previously, and he had left 10 years earlier to pursue the medical marijuana industry. We were reunited at a charity event for the USO called the Seafair Ball.
- What are some hardships you had to face in the industry?
Nothing ever happens on your timeline. Timelines get pushed back, inspections don’t always go as planned.
5. What advice do you have for those just starting in the industry?
Have a plan, link it to your Marketing & Sales Plan. Find out what’s important to you and find a way to connect with that. That’s the ‘secret sauce.’ For us it was linking the mission to help animals with a portion of our sales going back to Emerald City Pet Rescue.
Appy Power. I like to smoke it and send Lee (Gentry, master grower) a picture of what I’m doing.
- What is YOUR mission? Company Mission?
Company mission is to help create a happier, healthier and more socially conscious planet for all beings.
- Where do you hope this industry goes?
Mainstream. In movies when the main character is having a stressful day, and they cut to the next scene at a bar, I would want that next scene to be the guy firing up a joint.
- How are you different from the other guys?
Our environmentally conscious packaging and social purpose. When we hire people we find out their strengths and elevate them within the company to utilize those strengths.
- Who inspires you? Personally? Professionally?
Professionally, our private investors. I’ve known them for 15 years and seen how they grow companies, how they treat employees and what they do for the community.
Personally, I would have to say my girlfriend ‘Mina.’
She was born in Afghanistan and raised in India. She came to the USA as a teenager with nothing and was able to work and put herself through college. She is now a program manager at Microsoft and speaks 3 languages. When I think of what “inspires” me it seems to come down to looking to those that have been dealt some hard cards in life but seem to overcome and succeed without ever feeling sorry for themselves or relying on others for help or happiness. Mina is a true testament to this and I find this very inspiring.
If you want to get involved in Soulshine’s mission to help animals in need, come down to the Emerald City Pet Rescue on Saturday, August 27th NOON to FOUR in SODO to help adopt and raise money for neglected and homeless animals.
Emerald City Pet Rescue Event: 2962 1st Ave. South Seattle, WA. 98134
Written By: Masha Brown
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