A Missed Opportunity…and it’s a Priority at the Legislature this year

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Photo: Leina'ala Ahu IsaI wanted to catch up with our “LOCAL BOY as he continues to STRIKE GREEN”: Our own Waimānalo Boy: the Amazing Ranson Kepa Shepheard

A Las Vegas marijuana dispensary, the “Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace 24/7”, reportedly sold the country’s most expensive pot product, a cannagar, in December–an $11,000 marijuana-packed cigar. The cannagar includes a hemp and 24-karat gold leaf-coated exterior.

The 24-gram, weed-stuffed cannagar was sold to a LA resident, where he paid with six stacks of rubber banded $20 bills. He told the Las Vegas Sun newspaper he was inspired to smoke the record five-figure pot product on New Year’s Eve.

Photo: Brandon Hawkins and Ranson Kepa Shepard
At left, Brandon Hawkins, owner of West Hollywood LLC, holding a $11,000 marijuana-packed cigar, with Waimānalo native Ranson Kepa Shepard. – Photo: Courtesy Dailymail.co.uk

And the marijuana used inside the $11,000 cannagar is from Ranson Shepherd’s Virtue’s Pure Haze, a sativa-dominated hybrid flower. The Vegas Sun continues, “In Las Vegas, where recreational marijuana sales began in July, a Hawai‘i Waimānalo native is cashing in. Ranson Shepherd is the founder of VIRTUE, a marijuana cultivation company, in Nevada. And at just 32 years old, he says his company is making millions of dollars a month…and OHA Trustee Lei Ahu Isa added, “and OHA is making “zero… a “missed opportunity, indeed”, as he did approach us first.”

Ranson Shepherd told the Sun newspaper that he was glad the indigenous Paiutes owners are pushing the legal weed industry forward. “They’re pushing the boundaries on the industry and creating economic impact,” Shepherd said. “These are all minorities coming forth to change the stigma of the industry. I’ve always been a proponent of the industry and I’m happy that it has come this far. We exploded right into the market immediately. Once recreational marijuana took off, it’s been out of control here in Las Vegas,” Shepherd said. His 22,000-square-foot facility can grow about two tons of marijuana every year. His product line, Virtue, can be found in most Vegas dispensaries. The now father of two, he looks back at the growing pains and growing challenges of the entire process. Since 2014 when we got our licensing in Nevada we have become one of the market leaders in cultivation.

Our production partnership with global award winning company in Moxie also puts that phase of our business as a leader in the market.” He continues, “ In 2017, we were also able to land a heavily competitive process to partner with Louisiana State University Agricultural Center through a partnership with GBLA. Our entity for that project via Wellcanna (of which I’m a board member holds our interest). That project will focus heavily on the research & studies on tissue culture for cannabis, pain management and inflammation with the university. 2018 brought an explosive year for growth as we were able to lock up management contracts or joint ventures into Massachusetts, California, Oklahoma, Arizona and of course more businesses in Nevada. Also we were able to get the highly coveted approval to start importing Hemp based CBD products to Japan. In 2019 we look forward to work toward our goals with the partnerships we have built up over these past years.”

With his heart still with his Hawaiian roots, Shepherd has been following the Hawai‘i market closely because he says he would love to do business here at home eventually.

I sincerely hopes he does come home one day to lead…‘Onipa‘a, our watch word for 2019!

A hui hou, Mālama Pono, Trustee Leina‘ala