According to statistics, the cannabis industry in the US is expected to hit $100 billion. Other statistics have shown that the annual growth rate of the cannabis market between 2019 and 2021 was $23 billion. This indicates that the cannabis industry is tremendously growing.
Antonio Para has been one of the steers of this significant development in the US. However, his life started messily. At ten years old, Tony was gang-affiliated. At 14, he robbed people with a pistol and sold drugs illegally enough to buy a lowrider on Dayton’s before having a license at 16. Little did Tony know that he would run a multi-million dollar business one day by connecting personal and business relationships in the music, athletics, and cannabis communities.
Antonio went to high school in California in the mid to late 90s. During that time cannabis went legal out there with a prescription. Dispensaries started opening up the cannabis industry in Berkeley, California, home to hippies and freedom of speech.
Grabbing The Opportunity
So being around that era, Tony saw many opportunities. He knew many hippies from Humboldt County that had been growing since the 1960s. Since Tony had already sold cannabis on the streets, he was looking for an opportunity to find an excellent grower to give wholesale prices or better yet teach him to grow himself. On a long drive up highway 101, Tony meet that connection he was looking for, OG Gina, a lady with over thirty years of growing experience. This is how he learned the secret science of growing cannabis and that money does grow on trees.
Over the next few years, Tony would learn how to grow it, take it straight to the dispensary, and sell it, legally. “It takes 120 days to grow a pound of marijuana and only one of those days to f#ck it all up.”
He continued working with this lady, where he went from the point of being a worker to a manager. He invested in his own warehouse in Richmond, California. Through success and failure, Tony grow from intern to mentor to the point he is at now of owning his own brand and genetics.
“I was fortunate enough to meet the right growers that passed the knowledge from generations of her family down to me. Now with Tony growing himself, he was able to cut off the middleman and become the source. “ I cut down my expenses drastically by learning to grow it myself instead of buying from a grower in Humboldt county with a couple of middlemen in between,” says Antonio.
Scaling The Heights Of Success
Tony wasn’t just growing plants. He was looking forward to mixing specific strands and the different phenotypes that people would want.
Tracing his family ties from New York, Tony decided to do market research. He realized that the further East you would go, the more expensive the price of cannabis would be. This opened his eyes to the end game. To set up the infrastructure in multiple states for when cannabis does go federally legal, the foundation is already set for nationwide dispensaries and distribution.
What has propelled Tony to higher levels is to learn the distribution line, production line, and marketing. All angles of the industry! He has also mastered the art and concept of talking to people so that when he goes into the dispensary, you could have some deals closed. “Building relationships is everything in business. People do business with me even if they may make less money than doing business with someone else because they know they can trust me and that I do solid business.”
Therefore you have to be well-rounded, never burn bridges, and know all aspects of your business to be successful.