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PaperPlanes: Five Astute Questions with Carter Latimer/Founder-President

PaperPlanes: Five Astute Questions with Carter Latimer/Founder-President

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Carter Latimer lives the life that most cannabis aficionados only dream about. He took an idea and created an entire revolution in terroir-sensitive extractions. Although our paths have not crossed prior, I’m pretty sure that given the quality and purpose of his company, it was only a matter of time and circumstance. And… I’m pretty sure that I’ve got a couple of decades on Carter. That doesn’t in any way make his accomplishments any less than my own. I’m late to the science of the plant, having only been in her influence for about fifty years, but the deep-dive stuff, only since 2015 or so.

Carter has made cannabis extraction his focus and passion. PaperPlanes is the calling he discovered along the way. Great entrepreneurs are not taught, the determination to be a success comes from within, and Carter makes it look easy.

Which, as I have found out by launching a cannabis company of my own, is far from easy.

With that advice, I bring you Carter Latimer, Founder and President of PaperPlanes.

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Photo Credit: PaperPlanes

WB: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? When did you discover cannabis? Why cannabis?

Carter Latimer: I was born and raised in a little town nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills called Grass Valley, which just so happens to be one of the best places in California to grow cannabis. I discovered cannabis at a young age being around grows with my dad and uncle, and to be honest, I had no idea what it was at the time, but looking back, it’s clear the first few years of my life were shaped by cannabis culture.

Keep in mind this was the late 80s, and weed was still very illegal, so after a few sketchy visits from the sheriff, my mom forced my dad to pack up shop, go get his master’s degree, and get a real job teaching special needs and emotionally challenged teenagers. While my uncle would continue his journey of growing, my Dad went the straight and narrow path and sacrificed his love of the plant for the safety of his family. The funny thing is, I ended up picking up where he left off.

The life I remember growing up was my dad as a teacher and basketball coach and my mom; as a home care nurse. We lived a lower-middle-class life, and I became a gym rat and spent most of my time watching Dad coach and teach. It wouldn’t be until I turned 15 that cannabis would come back into the picture.

As teenagers, my friends and I were interested in trying any drug we could get our hands on, and cannabis just happened to be in the mix. I played sports in High School, so I wasn’t a big smoker, but it was during off-season seshes with my teammates that I started to fall in love with how the plant made me feel. Laughter, lightheartedness, and introspection were the three aspects that drove me to continue consuming, not to mention it never gave me a hangover. When compared to other drugs, it seemed that weed was the lesser evil, and I had no idea why it was so frowned upon by society. This made me want to keep exploring the plant and the people around it.

PaperPlanes was born in 2012, but it was in the preceding years, while I was in college, that I started making a living from the plant as a trimmer, small-time distributor, and confidante to the best growers in Grass Valley. At this time, I was at UNR studying to become a teacher like my dad, following a path that was forged out of fear. I knew I loved cannabis, but could I really do it full-time and not go to prison? After a while, I realized being a teacher was not for me and decided to go all in on cannabis. The sense of freedom got me hooked, and with the plant as my only boss, I started to forge my own path.

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Photo Credit: PaperPlanes

WB: Please tell me about your business. What’s the inspiration behind your company name?

Carter Latimer: Around 2011, I kept seeing “wax” pop up on Weedmaps menus and thought, “This is going for $60-70 a gram!?” I bought my first gram, took a hit off a stainless steel nail, and fell in love. The flavor was far superior to a joint, and the high blew smoking out of the water. It was clear that using butane to extract cannabis combined with the innovation happening in the glass-blowing industry would create an entirely new category for cannabis users. I started researching and eventually taught myself how to extract BHO. Keep in mind that during this time, there are little to no extractors in California and even fewer in Grass Valley. Wax wasn’t a mainstream product, and I saw an opportunity to be the guy in our town who could take trash and turn it into treasure.

After months of trial and error, I finally honed my techniques and could say that we had something different than the competition. I researched how to winterize and dewax cannabis extracts using -110c dry ice slurries in ice chests. This method was known by very few and would give our oil a clean, smooth, and terpy representative of the strain extracted. We decided to enter the market.

PaperPlanes was founded in 2012. I chose the name to highlight the flavor you got when you dabbed our products. PaperPlanes is actually a slang term for smoking joints: if you smoked “planes,” you cared about the flavor of your weed and wouldn’t dare ruin it by wrapping it in a Grape Swisher or a Backwoods. BHO was new, and being able to tie in the name to a culture of joint smokers who cared about flavor seemed like a perfect fit.

Flavor has always been our main focus. Early on, I discovered that all oil would get you stoned, but it wasn’t just the effect I was looking for; it was the entire experience of dabbing oil that tasted like your favorite strain. For the first time, cannabis breeders could have their strains dissected through the art of extraction, and these flavors could be brought to life. Bringing these unique terpene profiles to the surface has been our mission at PaperPlanes since its inception.

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Photo Credit: PaperPlanes

WB: What kind of products do you produce? What sets you apart from your peers?

Carter Latimer: Today, we produce award-winning extracts utilizing state-of-the-art extraction equipment in a 10,000 sq ft licensed manufacturing facility. We produce premium products in various forms and consistencies, whether live resin oil carts, concentrates, or fast-acting, water-soluble beverage enhancers. We use -80c degree butane and post-process at temps down to -110c. It’s no secret that magic happens at cold temps during cannabis extraction, but keeping these temps down can be very expensive and tough to maintain. This is why up to 95% of the industry’s oil is produced at temps of -30c to -50c, which will never bring out the true aromas or flavors of cannabis resin. Instead, you pull through tons of undesirables like fats, chlorophyll, and waxes, all of which will absolutely ruin any extract’s potential of having a solid smoothness or flavor.

What differentiates PaperPlanes (from others in the field) … is we never take any shortcuts to get great oil. We use cryogenics to remove those undesirables instead of relying on new practices like CRC. Many of the largest BHO producers in the state have actually switched to using CRC, which stands for “color remediation column.” Novice extractors started to utilize nasty filtration powders, aka “medias” to filter out unwanted colors and undesirables like the ones mentioned earlier. Sounds great on the surface, but what happens when you use medias is it strips the plant of all its unique characteristics, leaving behind an unnatural flavor that is not representative of the resin that was extracted. It’s been absolutely detrimental to the innovation and product quality in our category. With that said, it creates an opportunity for our company. While many of the best extractors were pushed out due to legalization, we managed to survive and are now among the last standing who are mindful of producing products that highlight a strain’s natural terpene profile.

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We also don’t charge an arm and a leg for our products. We recently built out 20,000 sq ft of canopy in Grass Valley which results in products that are soil to oil, allowing our customers an experience that is premium and affordable, a rare occurrence for our industry.

WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals?

Carter Latimer: We have three goals in the next 6-12 months:

1. The launch of our Cured Cartridge
2. The relaunch of our Fast Acting Nano Serum, aka F.A.N.S.
3. Growing, harvesting, and breeding our own strains from our farm in Grass Valley, ultimately creating a vertically aligned company that has a constant supply of quality, unique, and affordable cured and fresh frozen flower for our vapes, concentrates, and beverage enhancers.

WB: What is your passion? What is your favorite place in the world to visit?

Carter Latimer: My only true passion is cannabis oil. I’ve sacrificed the last 11 years of my life in pursuit of great oil and the previous 10 in pursuit of great weed. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to golf and fly fish, but I haven’t taken a vacation for longer than 4-5 days in over 11 years. I absolutely love what I do, and I feel that owning and operating a cannabis company is a privilege and should be treated with great care. I would love to travel later in life, but until that day, you will find me in the lab or at our farms ☺

Follow on social media:

PaperPlanes (@paperplanes.extracts) • Instagram photos and videos

(29) Carter Latimer | LinkedIn

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