The founders of Muha Meds are two young guys who are hard-core entrepreneurs driven by the plant. I was immediately taken by their forthright style and determined desire to do better. I’d like to say they are motivated in life by the plant, I don’t think that I’m wrong here. Smart doesn’t even start to explain what their story is centered around. Brilliant? Absolutely. With humility. The best kind.
Meet MuHa Meds, who started just a few years ago and are now killing it in CA and Michigan while gearing up to do the same in new markets in 2024.
Founded by two brothers and second-generation immigrants, Muha Meds makes good on the rags-to-riches story. Their original team of two began with 15k and a whole lotta hustle, and they’ve gone from up-and-comer in the traditional market to a major player in the regulated space with 250 employees. How? Well, for starters, they’re known for their premium products that come with wallet-friendly options. We talked to elder brother, Ali Garawi, Co-Founder and CEO/CFO of Muha Meds, about how they started with vape carts but have embraced the modern cannabis consumer and their love of disposables, infused pre-rolls, solventless vapes, edibles, and even hemp-derived products. It’s enough to make you say “Muah” to Muha Meds.
Warren Bobrow: Tell me about yourselves. What brought you to cannabis?
Ali Garawi: We are the sons of first-generation immigrants, raised by traditional, conservative parents who we saw pour blood, sweat, and tears to provide us with a good quality of life. From a young age, we developed a relentless desire for freedom not only for ourselves as teenagers but also for our parents. Being in America, we realized the importance of financial freedom and how gravely it will affect all aspects of our lives and our family’s lives… so we had to adapt. This is ultimately what led us into the cannabis space, but it was a long road.
At the ages of 14 and 15, my brother Muhammad and I first got into the e-commerce space by establishing online stores on platforms like eBay, Amazon, and Shopify. We analyzed the demand for consumer products that we could also source from overseas and got to work. Although we imported and sold consumer products in categories like electronics, health and beauty, supplements, workout gear, etc., the most popular category of products we worked with was vape/smoking accessories.
By the ages of 19 and 20, we were generating around half a million dollars in revenue a year in e-commerce and used the profits to pay for our and all of our siblings’ college tuition. At the time, I was majoring in Finance at Cal State Long Beach. However, around the time we graduated college, the smoking/vape category was growing at an exponential rate. We were importing hundreds of thousands of units of quality-controlled vape accessories for cannabis manufacturers. Which, at the time, was very difficult, as vape accessories had terrible QC issues. Thankfully, because of our experience in QC with other consumer goods, this wasn’t as big of a challenge for us.
We started diving deep into what all these accessories were being turned into, and in early 2019, started Muha Meds. We were a high-end, luxury, clean cannabis cartridge brand competing with huge names like Brass Knuckles, Heavy Hitters, and Stiiizy. Although for a new brand, we were doing well, the demand we saw for the empty cartridges was exploding, so our focus wasn’t always on Muha Meds. This all changed when “Vape Gate” hit in late 2019 and crushed demand for some of the popular brands. We then pivoted our focus to Muha Meds as the new safe alternative to cannabis vaping and were the first brand to utilize a QR code to show third-party verified lab results on all our products. The brand exploded, and we slowly worked our way into 100% multi-state vertical integration by 2022.
WB: What are you working on right now? Please tell me about your company.
AG: We’re working on having a full variety of the best ready-to-use consumer cannabis products on the market. We want to create every cannabis option (e.g., concentrates, flower, vape, gummies, etc.) at the best quality and an affordable price. What makes this incredibly difficult for us is that we NEVER allow any of the products to be white-labeled or produced by other manufacturers. We do everything in-house, and on top of that, all the extract-based commodities we use, like Hash Rosin, Live Resin, THCA Diamonds, etc., are all produced in-house. This allows us to ensure the quality, usability, and affordability of our products to a near-perfect degree.
We believe this is the main component that has distinguished us from other brands that outsource nearly all of the production. Some do this to such an insane degree that I refer to them as Mickey Mouse Cannabis Brands, as they essentially sell packaging.
Warren Bobrow: What are your six and twelve-month goals?
Our Six-Month Goals:
– To successfully launch our brand in Missouri, where we are currently building out our facility and plan to extract, manufacture, and produce our full line of cannabis products.
– Open up 2 Muha Meds retail stores in California.
Twelve Month Goals:
– Go from 230 stores in California to 500
– Be in 70% of Retail Space in Missouri.
– Launch outdoor cultivation in Missouri and indoor craft cultivation in California for our flower line.
WB: What obstacles do you face? How do you remove those obstacles?
AG: Many of the issues in our industry stem from the fact that the federal and state governments don’t get on the same page, making licensed operators the victims of violating federal law, even though they are abiding by state law. This has also made it difficult for banks to cooperate with cannabis businesses because banks operate by federal law.
I believe it’s slowly brewing a disaster economically for the space because each state is expected to cultivate, produce, and sell within its state borders, even though it makes zero sense to cultivate in certain states. So, you have these massive operators who’ve poured millions into these operations that can potentially go out of business if the government legalizes cannabis federally and opens up interstate commerce.
You also have this happening on a small scale within the state. In 2021, we were producing for medical patients at a very large scale while simultaneously working on obtaining our recreational licenses in the city of Long Beach. In March of 2021, the BCC and CDFA raided all of our operations in one fell swoop… when we were only three months out from recreational approval. We lost everything we worked for in 1 day, so this was our biggest hurdle yet. However, we triumphed through obtaining our licenses in multiple states… and got it all back, but it was hell.
WB: Do you have a mentor or someone who inspires you? Why?
AG: Unfortunately, I don’t have too many mentors in the cannabis space. However, I do have one man I look up to and am very inspired by for reasons you probably wouldn’t guess. It may sound cliche, but Elon Musk has inspired me in ways I didn’t think were possible.
First and foremost, I look at his intentions with all of the businesses he’s started. It is truly mind-blowing because, from a financial perspective, it’s crazy to start some of the businesses he has, but most of them were to fix a fundamental problem within society. I hope I can contribute to solving similar problems someday. Along with his intentions, I admire his relentless pursuit to execute his vision. It just leaves no room for excuses when you’re complaining about something being too difficult. Elon Musk reminds me that it’s achievable, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Visualize it, believe it, and do it.
WB: What is your passion?
AG: My passions have changed as time has gone by, and milestones have been met. At first, it was to liberate myself and my family from the financial chokehold of the market.
Then, my passion shifted to servicing people, watching people grow, scouting, training, and establishing people with different skills, values, and traits in a functional, thriving company. Over the course of the company’s growth, we’ve hired over 300 employees, a lot of whom had no qualifications in the job market. With a little training, inspiration, and motivation, some of these people now have the qualifications and skills to get a six-figure job due to their training at our company.
The one passion that we’re carrying on, though, is to create innovative products and services to enhance people’s quality of life. We are excited to show you what we have in store; stay tuned.
Tasting notes for a future release just sampled by myself. A still un-named Indica from Muha Meds Premium Cannabis Records:
Nose: Bitter black licorice, puddles of European gasoline, brown butter, Asian spices, touches of lemongrass and caramel corn, the vivid smell of electricity in the air after a summer rainstorm- (that ozone scent), just snipped Tarragon—crushed minerals.
Color: Brooding dark shades of deep purple with tangles of gold and orange hairs, these buds are patiently cured. The firmness of the flower buds makes me want to pinch them to release their secrets; very impressive depth and balance for the small sample that I procured.
Stone: Expansive, intellectual, vividly colored, emotional experience- and lush
Mouthfeel: Richly textured, full-bodied with a praline-like richness, sticky and fat with oils that ooze from each pull. The flower is well-cured, and the smoke is redolent with crystallized nutmeat and toasty, brown butter caramel.
Finish: Licking a spoon splashed in rosemary, cardamom dust, sea salt, and sizzling lamb fat.
Follow online: https://www.muhameds.com/
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy: Muha Meds
Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Cocktailwhisperer.com Drinkklaus.com Instagram: warrenbobrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bobrow