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California Artisanal and Connoisseur Cannabis: From Nishant Reddy-A Golden State

California Artisanal and Connoisseur Cannabis: From Nishant Reddy-A Golden State

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I’ve been a huge fan of the exceptionally fine flowers grown with love and attention by Nishant Reddy’s talented growers and with good reason. They work! The strains that Vantage Point (A Golden State, Phases, etc.) grows are lush and kind to my sense of chi.

We have many similarities throughout our upbringing, Northern New Jersey for one, and we both attended the Gill/St. Bernard’s School…Although Nishant has more than a “couple” fewer decades on the planet than I do, he is doing exactly what he wants to achieve in life in regard to the plant…

This is something very personal to me because it took me much longer to achieve a place in the cannabis universe.

I’m quite pleased to know that Nishant is able to follow his dreams, coming from a state (NJ) that is (still) quite stigmatized, even with legalization. However you regard cannabis, I believe that the energy that Nishant puts into his company and his life is worthy of my mention. I’m proud to be his friend and to be able to share his passion for the plant with others who may be intrigued by his immense resilience and pure entrepreneurship.

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Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about your path to PHASES. Why PHASES? Where did the name come from? What sets you apart from your competition? What strain is your favorite? Why?

Nishant Reddy: Vantage Point is a premium house of flower. We are a fully vertical operation based in California comprised of cultivation, distribution, our portfolio brands, and retail. Our focus is the upper echelon, the one percent of artisanal and connoisseur cannabis. We are largely recognized for our brand, A Golden State, which is considered California’s preeminent exotic cannabis, but we are equally proud to be the creators and purveyors of PHASES, California’s leading effects-based brand. The brand’s founding tenets are efficaciousness, craft quality, and transparency. The brand’s mission is to provide natural, plant-based remedies for everyday ailments, as categorized by PHASES’ five distinct mood states. The building blocks for PHASES are our premium indoor flower and unique proprietary genetics.

Our 6–12-month goals are anchored around growth. Right now, growth for us equates to creating new SKUs, expanding into more California markets, and exploring expansion into other states. We are proud to have just released our PHASES Happy Mediums, which have been a smash success, selling out immediately and forcing us to work around the clock to meet the demand. I would argue that is the best bang for buck in terms of quality and quantity in the California market. We’re also continuing to expand our shelf presence with our amazing retail partners—exploring vaporizers, edibles, and infused pre-rolls. At the end of the day, it is all about showcasing what we can do from the genetics and breeding side. We have already launched several new genetics this year and are pushing towards a goal of having between 2-3 strains in rotation for each mood state at all times.

PHASES was created to expand our portfolio of premium cannabis brands, thus providing access to more consumers. We believe that everybody should be able to enjoy premium, artisanal cannabis, and that quality ultimately correlates to an elevated experience. We don’t believe that price should prevent people from being able to experience this.

Because we are a premium house of flower and a fully vertical operation (meaning we have our own cultivations, our own portfolio of brands, and handle our own distribution), we’re able to control the supply chain and pass the savings to the end user. This allows us to provide the consumer with the highest quality cannabis at the best price, which is something unique that other non-vertical cannabis operators cannot provide. Likewise, they don’t have the “recipe” to produce the level of cannabis quality I am referring to. This is exactly why PHASES is so special.

That said, we are deeply ingrained in every aspect of the industry and can understand the trends and gaps and create products that address what consumers are looking for. In the case of PHASES, we recognized that there was an increasing number of consumers looking to the plant as a natural remedy to alleviate everyday problems such as anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, and pain for example. As a result, we decided to create a brand that addressed this while being fun, approachable, informative, efficacious, consistent, and anchored in high-quality products. We accomplished this with PHASES, a brand that gives consumers the confidence they are looking for.

PHASES is currently California’s leading effects-based brand and is poised to have a national presence. The strains that we currently have in market, covering a variety of effects, are Vibration, Retrograde, Dreamcatcher, High Frequency, and Reverie, with the hope to expand those to six or seven soon.

We expertly curate the flower by pursuing specific terpene, cannabinoid, and flavonoid profiles to fall into one of these categories and give consumers that consistency, credibility, and, ultimately, a final product that they can use on a regular basis to address some of these everyday problems. My personal favorite strain is Reverie, which means “daydream” in French. It is the perfect hybrid, providing a great body high and acting as an amazing conduit between relaxation and euphoria while still being social. It’s that perfect balance between rejuvenation and recharging. I love that feeling and can always benefit from it.

WB: Do you have a mentor? Who? How did you first discover the plant? How old were you? Where was this? What was the first concert you attended? Did you smoke weed?

NR: I’m fortunate to be able to surround myself with a close circle of friends who I would call mentors. They’ve all been fortunate to find professional success, and most have forged it from their own unique entrepreneurial journeys. As a result, I get smarter through osmosis. I can harness their wisdom and experience, hopefully saving myself from having to make the same mistakes.

Growing up, my family lived in northern New Jersey in a small, rural horse farm part of the state. I was lucky to have only been 40 miles outside of New York, so I had this interesting balance of life in a small town that was within a stone’s throw of one of the greatest cities in the world. I first discovered the cannabis plant the summer going into my freshman year of high school, and I vividly remember it as a great, innocent childhood moment. I was at a friend’s house for a summer party, and his older brother had some cannabis, which was my first time being exposed to the plant and having an opportunity to try it. I really enjoyed this new type of feeling, and it felt exciting and fun. Ever since then, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the plant, and it would obviously go on to shape the next 30+ years of my life.

Likewise, I have fond memories from my youth of summer concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center, a popular outdoor music venue, and getting to enjoy my very first concerts by bands like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Dave Matthews, and so many more….and yes, I smoked weed at all of them and loved getting high in (prep) school!

WB: What obstacles do you face in your business? How do you anticipate removing the obstacles?

NR: The cannabis business never fails to be a series of obstacles and hurdles. It’s crazy to imagine that the very same obstacles that were in existence five or six years ago are the most relevant obstacles that exist in the business today. Seemingly obvious things, like access to capital markets and banking or declassifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, are still very much the relevant regulatory obstacles. It’s ridiculous, really, because it chokes the industry’s ability to prosper and causes many cannabis companies to go out of business.

…and don’t get me started on 280e tax.

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When it comes to resolving these obstacles, a big part of the equation is lobbying the government, but if I am being honest, it feels like we’re going one step forward for every three steps backward. It’s my belief that a large part of that has to do with the powers that be and the fact that they are significantly more powerful and richer than those of the current cannabis industry, for example, alcohol and big pharma. I would argue behind the scenes; it’s lobbying efforts from these types of industries that are thwarting the growth of the cannabis industry.

The only way to circumvent this as a cannabis business is to operate better, be more disciplined, and pursue sustainable growth with an emphasis on profitability. It’s the only path to survive the inefficient regulatory landscape.

WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals? Please tell me more about your company. What is your secret sauce to success?

NR: The secret sauce to our success is that there really isn’t a secret sauce. Hard work that is centered around a focused, cohesive vision for the company is what’s led to our success. We don’t cut corners, and we stay in our lane. We remain authentic to our shared vision of creating cannabis products for connoisseurs by connoisseurs, and we take tremendous pride in achieving this every day. Happy customers are what keeps us loving what we do.

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Photo Credit: A Golden State, all photos

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