The CannaBeat Podcast – Lucas Seymour of Old Kai Distribution
Before Proposition 64 created the commercial adult-use cannabis industry in California, Lucas Seymour co-founded Old Kai Distribution in Ukiah, California. Old Kai’s wanted to be “squeaky clean” and prove to cultivators in Mendocino, Trinity, and Sonoma Counties that it was time to come out of the shadows. The company planned expansion to Southern California, aiming to link Northern California’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators with Southern California’s massive retail opportunities. But, the company quickly hit several headwinds: regulations in Southern California were unique to each jurisdiction; some local regulations conflicted with state regulations (e.g., the drive-time between distribution hubs). Cities that were great targets for distribution (like Long Beach) wanted high distribution taxes, all but eliminating profitability. And, most importantly, licensing timelines were extremely long, and required an applicant to hold a leased space for the entire approval process requiring applicants to, pay commercial rent indefinitely, without any idea of when they could actually start making sales.
Meanwhile, conditions in Ukiah were no better. Incongruity between state and local regulations cost Old Kai over a million dollars when the Mendocino County Sheriff Department seized 1,800 lbs. of inventory in late 2017 (despite Old Kai holding state and local distribution licenses). The cannabis was never recovered. After this “we were dead in the water,” Seymour reports. Learn more on The CannaBeat Podcast and read more about Old Kai in these news stories: