Photo credit: Karli Adams
Five Questions with Morris Beegle, Founder of the Colorado Hemp Company
Morris and I share more than names, (Morris is my middle name), we both are a part of a much larger world of cannabis. In Morris’s cases he is working with the plant as an industrial material, in my case I’m using the healing function of the plant to solve the problems with my vision. Both of us have creative mindsets which are enhanced by the healing nature of this magical plant. Morris is an accomplished musician, he has even created a methodology for manufacturing a hemp-based guitar! I’m excited to share with you, my readers a very creative man who thinks well beyond the artificial boundaries of traditional business. Thank you. WB.
Warren Bobrow= WB: When did you decide that the cannabis business was an avenue you wanted to pursue? How has your experience working in music and entertainment informed your work in the cannabis space? Was your company Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars inspired by your experiences in both sectors?
Morris Beegle=MB: 2011 was the year I really started to explore what I was going to do post Hapi Skratch Records (my music and entertainment production/marketing and distribution company) and cannabis was definitely happening in Colorado still below the radar. In 2012, Amendment 64 was introduced to legalize recreational marijuana and tax and regulate it like alcohol, and within that legislation was language that would allow Colorado farmers to start growing industrial hemp. It was at that moment my partner Elizabeth Knight and I decided to start Colorado Hemp Company, a hemp-based merchandise, advocacy and promotion company that started making hemp t-shirts and head-wear, and we started repping several domestic hemp companies and their products that included shoes, hats, wallets, bags, cordage, and other hemp accessory type items. From there, we launched Tree Free Hemp paper and printing in 2013, NoCo Hemp Expo in 2014, Let’s Talk Hemp in 2015, and multiple brands and events since then under the WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) umbrella.
Photo courtesy of NoCo Hemp Expo.
I’ve found a lot of parallels with the music/entertainment industries, and the emerging cannabis industry, which includes the entire hemp and hemp derived product markets— medical and recreational. It’s a lifestyle industry and you have a lot of creatives who care and are passionate. Just like in music, you have a lot of people who are passionate about the art, and with that, those types of people fill the roles of producers, manufacturers, marketers and so-on throughout the entire supply chain, including ancillary businesses that cater to the industry. I took my skill set as an indie music promoter doing events, production and distribution, licensing, printing and packaging, merchandise and marketing, and shifted gears to apply that experience to the hemp/cannabis space, and found a niche as the foundation of the industry in the US began to form.
Yes, my love of music, and in particular, rock and roll, along with cannabis, inspired Silver Mountain Hemp, which produces hemp guitars, hemp ukuleles, guitar cabinets, guitar straps, picks and knobs, with our promotions supported by hemp t shirts and hats of course. We’re still in prototype/small production phase as we fine tune production with the right materials and manufacturing processes. We’re looking at September/October to have supply on guitars, cabinets and ukuleles.
Photo credit: Karli Adams
WB: Many people simply focus on the intoxicating effects of cannabis. How are you expanding the cannabis conversation to look at the full potential of the plant?
MB: I think most people, at least most people I know, are pretty familiar with medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis. We made a conscious effort to focus on the industrial, nutritional, therapeutic, and environmental applications and benefits of hemp. All of our WAFBA brands are based on this side of the plant and all of our events and education initiatives are focused on these applications and benefits.
WB: Do you cook? If so, who taught you? Mother? Father? Television cooking shows? Anything that brings a tear to your eye when you eat/drink it? If so, why? Do you have a favorite cannabis inspired dish you’d like to share?
MB: I do cook, but I would not say I’m a gourmet chef by any means. My dad and mom both cooked, but my dad was a chili guy and I am a chili guy. I actually make a pretty good red chili and green chili, and I have hemp-based versions of both. Someday, not far off, you may see organic Colorado Hemp Chili on the shelves of Whole Foods and Sprouts. It’s a project in the works.
WB: What did you want to be when you grew up (when you were a kid!)? Where do you see yourself and your company WAFBA’s (We Are For Better Alternatives) family of brands — NoCo Hemp Expo, Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars, Tree Free Hemp, The Hawaii Hemp Conference, Let’s Talk Hemp — in a year? Five years?
Photo credit: Karli Adams
MB: My first career desire was to be an NFL quarterback. I grew up a Roger Staubach fan and had good natural athletic ability. From there, it shifted to being a pro golfer as I became a huge Jack Nicklaus fan, and then it shifted to working in the music industry during my first year of college at Colorado State University. I really didn’t envision myself in the cannabis space until around 2010 when I became a lot more interested in the plant. I see WAFBA as a global leader in advancing the mission of normalizing cannabis and all of its beneficial applications into dozens of different verticals that can have a positive impact on our society, on our climate, and the future of humanity. All of the brands and events we create and are involved in will always work in synergy, for the plant and the betterment of the planet.
WB: If you could be anywhere in the world, right now, where would that be? Doing what?
MB: Right now, I would say New Zealand, because I’ve never been there — it’s on my bucket list. I can’t wait to go spend time in that part of the world, and I would be exploring Middle Earth and Hobbit Huts…because that sounds like a lot of fun.