Dixie Brands Using Fresh Capital To Expand

chuck smith dixie brands

American cannabis companies are starting to go public in Canada, using the fresh capital to further fuel their growth.

One of these companies is Dixie Brands Inc., one of the most recognized consumer brands with a portfolio of over 100 products across more than 15 different product categories.

In this episode, Dixie CEO Chuck Smith shares his insight on the future of cannabis and discusses the company’s goals to become the leading global consumer packaged goods company in cannabis.

Learn more at http://dixieelixirs.com

Key Takeaways:

  • A breakdown of Dixie Brands and its expansive array of THC and CBD products
  • Chuck’s background in the cannabis industry and his journey to CEO of Dixie
  • Dixie Brands’ state-by-state growth and its plans for expansion within the U.S. and beyond
  • How differences in regulation dictate Dixie’s go-to-market strategy in Canada versus the U.S.
  • Why Dixie focuses on building brands instead of cultivation
  • How Dixie competes against new companies entering the cannabis industry
  • The importance of packaging and how Dixie successfully creates packaging that distinguishes their brands from others and achieves consumer trust and engagement
  • A walkthrough of BDS analytics and it offers cannabis industry market trends and consumer insights
  • Chuck’s outlook on the global future of cannabis over the next decade

 

Read Full Transcript

Mathew: Hi. I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday. Look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly-evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A insider.com. Now, here's your program.

American cannabis companies are going public in Canada and using this fresh capital to fuel their growth. One of these companies is Dixie Brands. Here to tell me about it is Chuck Smith, CEO of Dixie Brands. Chuck, welcome to CannaInsider.

Chuck: Matthew, I'm so happy to be here with you and your listeners.

Mathew: Great. Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Chuck: Well, I laughed at... Lately, my office has been a row 10, seat A of United Airlines, but today, I'm in our headquarters here in Denver, Colorado.

Mathew: Okay. And give us a very high-level understanding of what Dixie Brands is for people that aren't familiar.

Chuck: Sure. Dixie Brands is really a consumer package goods company, a CPG company. We have one of the largest portfolios of infused products both for THC as well as CBD wellness in the industry. We've been around for about 10 years starting here in Colorado. And we've now built the company to a portfolio of over a hundred different products across about 15 delivery vehicles or different product types. Think of a drink is a delivery vehicle or a chocolate bar as a product type. And then we also have two other companies Aceso Wellness, which is our hemp-derived CBD human supplement product line, and then Therabis, which is our, again, hemp-derived CBD pet wellness company.

Mathew: Okay. Can you share a little bit about your background and journey and what brought you into the cannabis space and specifically Dixie?

Chuck: Oh, sure. Well, I'm one of the older guys in the room, so I've been around for quite a while. I've been both in corporate America running finance organizations and then moving into more sales, marketing, and internal management and then became very entrepreneurial later on where I started with other folks building companies and, you know, really having that kind of entrepreneurial bug.

And about 10 years ago, my business partner Tripp Keber and I decided to make an investment here in the green rush, if you will, of Colorado. That was the very early days during kind of the caregiver model and before Amendment 64 was passed. And that investment, that kind of passive investment, turned into very active investing and then active management. And here we are today with Dixie Brands, a publicly-traded company with the operations really globally now.

Mathew: And I've watched Dixie grow quite a bit. It's been an amazing thing to see and I've been fortunate to go on a couple tours inside the facility in Colorado in Denver there. Can you tell us a little bit about the evolution from just Colorado to where you sit today?

Chuck: Yes. And I would say one of the best things that probably happened to the company in terms of building this great foundation is that we did start here in Colorado. So, even though California was a much bigger marketplace and we probably, from a revenue standpoint, would have been a bigger company in the early days, we really built a foundation of strong intellectual property, strong compliance, regulatory compliance, and Colorado continued to evolve its industry here by really putting in strong, again, regulatory compliance or legislation that caused the industry to really evolve to the highest level.

So, if you look at Dixie's products, we've always triple lab tested our products, even in the early days, for purity, potency, and consistency. We also have always developed the highest level of compliance for child-resistant packaging, and for labeling, and for other information that would really allow the patient, and now the consumer to know what they were getting. And what that really did is put us in a great position to take all of that learning and all of that intellectual property that we developed over the 10-year period and really now take it out on a state-by-state and really soon country-by-country basis, and it gives us a good foundation to really be that global CPG leader.

Mathew: Yeah. And for context and the investors listening, when did Dixie go public?

Chuck: On November 29th of 2018, we went public on the Canadian Securities Exchange. I had said it was probably one of the worst days of all to go public because starting in December, the entire industry sold off as a sector. But fortunately, that's all started to turn back around and the company and the stock is moving really in the right direction.

Mathew: Okay. So, can you talk a little bit about your footprint in the U.S., Chuck? I know I've been to very small towns' dispensaries. I'm thinking of Crested Butte in Colorado, a great ski area and mountain bike area. And I did notice... I happened upon your products there. Can you just talk about kinda your distribution strategy and your footprint in the U.S.?

Chuck: Sure. So, Dixie Brands now manufacturers, and produces, and distributes through affiliates or licensed partners that we have in each state in five states. So, we are in Colorado, which is where the company was originally founded. We also have operations in California, Nevada, Maryland. And we just announced our most recent operation that's opening in Michigan, which we will be building and producing products and distributing those, hopefully, by the end of March.

Mathew: Oh, great.

Chuck: And our stated goal has been to really be one of the largest infused products or brand owners here in the industry in the U.S. controlling our manufacturing and distribution. We'll have between 8 and 10 states up and running by the end of 2019.

Mathew: Okay. Okay. And how is the strategy different in Canada than the U.S.? I mean, you have a different go-to-market there. There's different regulations. It's federally legal, but how do you think about Canada differently?

Chuck: Yes. In Canada, we have a manufacturing and licensing agreement with a company called Auxly Cannabis. It's a publicly-traded company. Some of your listeners might know it as Cannabis Wheaton Income before they changed their name. They're a great partner of ours. They have a licensed production facility on Prince Edward Island called Dosecann. And so, we are starting the process of really developing our manufacturing protocols, our regulatory compliance review. As you probably know, Health Canada just came out at the very end of the year with their guidance on which products were gonna be allowed. But still those regulations and rules are still forming up.

So, our teams are working together to understand our compliance against that and determine which products we're gonna launch. The one thing I will say to you is there's not a product that Health Canada could have approved for infused products consumption that Dixie doesn't already make. So, I'm very comfortable that we'll be able to have a very fast time to market with Auxly, that we've already run a lot of the traps in terms of formulations, and packaging, and labeling. And so, we're just eager to get started up there in Canada.

Mathew: So, you've mentioned in the past you view cannabis as an ingredient and don't wanna be in the cultivation business. Can you go into detail on why that is?

Chuck: Sure. We just long ago decided to focus our efforts on where we thought we had the highest value and where we thought was one of the highest values on the value chain. And that was really building brands. But it's more than just a logo that looks good on a hat. It really has to have all the foundational elements of repeatability, consistency, quality formulations, strong packaging. And, of course, the brand appeal to the consumer is critically important. So, I think we really focused on being experts at that. And when I've talked about cannabis as an ingredient, I do make the joke that, you know, we're just a commercial food manufacturer that happens to use a funny ingredient called THC or CBD.

One of the reasons we aren't really interested in the cultivation game is that we know we don't have the infrastructure or the capabilities to be a high-quality farmer. We know that that's a commodity-type industry. And the ones that are gonna win on that are the ones that are the most efficient and have put the amount of capital involved or required to really be able to be a low-cost producer because we can see where that's going. We have great relationships with cultivators across the country. We're developing those relationships with cultivators in other areas now as we move into Canada and other areas of the world. And so, we wanna really work with them to have consistent supply chain. And then on the other side, wholesale distribution to all the retailers that are out there serving consumers or patients across the country.

Mathew: Dixie is about, as a mature player in the cannabis space as I've come across, particularly in drinks. How do you use that maturity to help you as new entrants come in and try to compete?

Chuck: Yeah. As I said a minute ago, Matthew, we have this broad portfolio of products. So, really for 10 years, we've been developing formulations. We've been developing the really intellectual property and know-how, and it's one thing to say as a, you know, a new entrant, "Well, we're developing drinks or we're developing a product and we're gonna bring that to market." There's no substitute for having done it for 9 or 10 years. And understanding not only just how to make 1 or 100 bottles of a drink, but you have to make 10,000 of them.

And you have to make 10,000 of them a day in some markets in order to meet demand. And they have to be exactly the same. They have to be consistent. They have to have high quality. They have to be homogeneous, meaning the very first sip of that drink is gonna be the same as the very last sip of that drink. And, again, there's no substitute for the time, and effort, and investment that it takes to be able to do that on a consistent basis, and I think Dixie has a big a head start on that, having been in the industry for so long.

Mathew: Yeah. That emulsification and homogamy in the drink is really a key thing. Did it take a long time to kind of crack the code on that to get it just right?

Chuck: It certainly did. It takes a lot of trial and error. It takes a lot of brainpower. And it takes a lot of resources to do it. And you're all also doing it in a kind of highly-regulated environment. And so, it's not like we can go out and tap a couple of universities and their food scientists to come in and help us. And if you think about it, you know, in the world, we've been cooking with vegetable oil and olive oil for, you know, thousands of years. We've been really cooking, if you will, with cannabis oil for, you know, 20 and 30 maybe, and commercially really for the only last, you know, 5 or 10 at the most. So, it's a very immature science and it's one that has really taken a lot of time.

And you mentioned emulsification and the homogeneity part of it. Really, the Holy Grail now that all producers are looking for is to make the cannabis product no different than any other consumer products. So, if you talk about the analog being a drink, a glass of wine, or a bottle of beer, we wanna make your experience with drinking a cannabis-infused beverage exactly the same as what you predict or what you know it as when you drink wine or you drink beer or an alcoholic beverage.

We want that onset to be very similar so it's predictable and you're comfortable with it. And then we want the experience and the longevity, if you will, of the experience to be similar. So, again, you get very comfortable with the format. And here at Dixie, that's what we've really worked on and we have some exciting news coming out soon in terms of really our water-soluble THC and CBD products that really help move us along that line of predictability and consistency.

Mathew: Okay. And talk about packaging because it's definitely a strength for Dixie. How do you think about packaging and, in particular, you know, when you see a Dixie product, how do you want that to register with consumers as this is part of the Dixie family, like look, and feel, and something about it?

Chuck: Yes. I think the packaging is no different than what's inside of the package, frankly, in the way we think about it. And that is, I want consumers to look at Dixie or patients in those markets that are still medically-oriented and I want them to trust the brand. I want them to trust that there is a consistent product there that's built to the highest level of quality, and care, and testing and that every single product that they buy of Dixie's is gonna be the same.

And it's incredibly important when you think about now this ubiquitous world that we live in and this growing industry because very soon, you know, a consumer will be able to get on a plane in Boston, and fly to Chicago, and then on to Denver, and then on to San Francisco, and eventually, up to Toronto. And they're gonna be able to buy cannabis products in every one of those cities because they're an adult 21 or over, and the product is legal in that state.

And I want them to pick Dixie because they're familiar and comfortable with the product and they know it stands for consistency and quality. So, part of that is the outer packaging. It's gotta be attractive, but it's also gotta have the right information, compliance, and safety measures. And then as importantly, it's the product inside that they trust and have come to rely on.

Mathew: You talked a little bit about how you don't wanna be in the cultivation business because it's a commodity business and the winner-take-all there is gonna be the one that's the most efficient. You're in the brand-building business, but there's still economies of scale you want and efficiencies you want. Can you talk a little bit about how you think about the logistics and operations there and bringing down expenses?

Chuck: Of course. And that's, obviously, very important to us as a manufacturer. We always want to try and drive as much efficiency and economy of scale as possible. A little bit of the challenge is still here in the United States, we're very much a state-by-state-regulated industry. So, where a package may look one way in the label and the information may be portrayed in one way in Colorado or California, for example, that package is entirely different in Maryland because Maryland is a medical state and it has its own list of regulatory requirements there. So, we aren't getting true economy of scale by being able to have one package or one label fits all, but we do our best to make that as efficient as we can.

Where we drive the efficiencies is really in our manufacturing and our standard operating procedures and really understanding what it takes to make each widget and learning and continuing to learn how to do it better and better and drive efficiency. So, as an example, we have a program in place for 2019 where we'll be doing significant lien management manufacturing training where we're bringing outside consultants that really understand lien management or what's it called, Kaizen Training and focusing on certain aspects of our business to really increase that efficiency. Once we know how to do it in one facility, then we just pick that learning up and we take it to all of our other plants and all our other facilities and implement it there.

Mathew: Yes. Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement, I believe.

Chuck: That's right.

Mathew: Is that a... It's like a Peter Drucker maybe philosophy it sounds like in there, the guy that...the efficiency and management experts and the lien manufacturing is something you're kind of borrowing from there. So, it's interesting to see how that all ties together.

Chuck: Well, you know, I look at this industry and our company, in particular, as just another industry. Again, we have a little bit of a weird ingredient. We have certainly a lot higher regulatory hurdles to jump over, but I view Dixie as a CPG company and it wants to be the best of breed in terms of manufacturing, distribution, and brand management.

Mathew: So, if I'm a product manager and I put that hat on, this is how the model seems to be, and correct me if I'm wrong. I look at a tool like a BDS Analytics or Headset that tells me what's selling in dispensaries now, what's trending, what's falling in favor or out of favor, craft a thesis of how I wanna bring a product to market, perhaps put a new spin on there on an existing product, work through the cost, do a benefits and drawbacks analysis of the product, craft the packaging and the brand, get feedback from the ecosystem, launch to a limited geography, iterate, and expand to a larger geography. Is that how you look at it or is there things I'm missing or what would you add or change?

Chuck: Matthew, it sounds like you've been sitting in our management meetings. That's exactly how we do it. I think the complexity there, we use tools like BDS and data sets that we get from other providers like Ed said. I think that that data is still evolving though as you go into each new market. You know, that data is just starting to be developed. It's only as good as the either the point of sale systems that are collecting it or the state-mandated seed-to-sale tracking systems. So, we're still continuing to evolve that data set. And I think what makes it even more complicated is that the consumer is expanding at such an exponential and rapid rate in terms of not only the sheer numbers, but all also the preferences.

So, you're probably aware that, you know, the fastest-growing segment of consumers today in the industry are adults 50 years and older. That's a much different demographic and a much different a consumer profile than it was even, you know, just a couple years ago when those consumers really weren't comfortable coming into the industry yet. Either they felt there was still a stigma or there wasn't a product set that was broad enough for them. So, as they're coming in, we have to kind of anticipate what they're looking for because we don't have a good data set to draw on in terms of their habits.

The female consumer is also, you know, now a much faster-growing demographic. And so, again, we have to make sure that our products are approachable or if it's not, you know, a specific Dixie-branded product, it's brands that we've either purchased or that we've innovated that are really speaking and targeting those new consumer preferences. So, it is a very evolving and dynamic exercise right now and it's exciting to be part of it.

Mathew: I think one thing I'd love to see is that, you know, we get the dispensary data from BDS Analytics or Headset. But I'd like to see, like, as someone walks out of a dispensary, just ask them like, "Why did you buy that?" and just understand how they walked through that decision because we've got the hard objective data, but we don't know exactly what the decision process was. I mean, it could be something as simple as like, "I liked the color. I like the aftertaste of this." But, I mean, it could be something we just don't anticipate that we could be wildly off and don't even know it.

Chuck: That's right. And I think that's where consumer research really is important. And so, at Dixie, we're in the middle of several consumer research projects. We really are trying to understand the consumer as they walk in, you know, what their impressions are, how they're influenced to make buying decisions. Do they come in with a preconceived notion or idea of either what they are looking for in general or a product in specific, or are they really coming in and putting their selves in the hands of the budtenders who are very powerful, if you will, at the point of purchase because they have a lot of knowledge and they have certainly their own preferences. So, we're trying to educate and understand consumers as they walk into the door. And we're also trying to understand and educate and work with budtenders to be a good point of contact for us as a house of brands.

We're also looking at that in new markets. So, you may be aware that we entered into a term sheet for a joint venture with Kyron, which is one of the largest infrastructure companies in Latin America for cannabis. So, it's a perfect marriage of Khiron with their infrastructure for all of Latin America and Dixie with its broad portfolio of products. But we don't really know what the Latin American customer wants. And they vary from country to country. Chileans are much different than Colombians, much different than Mexicans. So, we need to understand what each of those consumers are looking for in their products and then working with our partner Khiron to really start developing products that appeal to them.

Mathew: Well, I lived in Chile for a year and I can tell you they put avocado on everything. And if you love avocado, you'll love Chilean foods. So, I think I'm gonna say an avocado vape pen. They call it avocado palta, but I think that would do really well there. And I'm not kidding. It's on everything, smashed avocado. So, I'm gonna throw that out there, a little secret weapon for you.

Chuck: Well, I appreciate that and I'll tell you when we're ready to start testing different products for Chile, we'll ask you to be one of our testers.

Mathew: Oh, great. Great. Great. Well, Chuck, a lot of people talk about what is the cannabis industry gonna look like in three to five years. Let's go a little crazy here and take some risk and say, "What's it gonna look like in 2030?" This is a totally speculative exercise. You know, usually we ask, you know, CEOs to be conservative and not to do things like this, but let's go crazy here. Let's take a controlled risk and just say what do you think it's gonna look like, what is gonna surprise most people about what the cannabis industry is gonna look like? And we could be totally wrong, but what do you think is coming?

Chuck: Well, I do think it's gonna be a global industry at that point. I think that if you look in the U.S. and really 2030, we're talking about 11 years from now or 10 1/2, I still think that we're gonna have a state-oriented mandate. I do think there'll be federal legalization. In fact, I've called... That there'll be a form of federal legalization by the end of this year or early in 2020. I think coincides with the elections that are coming up. I think it coincides with some incredible policy that's being promoted at the federal level, like the STATES Act, which has really good bipartisan support. But even in the STATES Act, which is, I think, you know, a good solid piece of legislation, it still calls for treating cannabis like alcohol. And if you look at even the current alcohol model, while it's federally illegal, it still has state control.

So, I think we're still going to...even 10 years from now we're still gonna see state by state by state control because that allows distribution. It allows our taxes to be controlled at the state level and some nuance, you know, that that are really up to the state legislators. But I would predict that every state in this country will be legal in some form or fashion by 2030. I don't think that's a wild prediction. I think that we will be able to ship across state lines. I think we'll be able to carry product across state lines. And I think we'll be able to carry product globally. And so, this will be much more of a global economy. And you can just see it forming up now in every country. Even in the most conservative countries are or looking...you know, France is a credibly conservative country and they're still looking now at some form of medical marijuana or at least medical CBD-oriented products.

And then finally, I think that we've only scratched the tip of the iceberg on this plant. There are so many other cannabinoids that we know with research are gonna provide incredible benefit to people, whether it's CBG or CBN and many of the other ones that we haven't really even uncovered yet. So, I think with research, we're gonna be able to target some very, very high-quality products or medicines that are driven out of this plant. And that's really gonna continue to fuel the global use of cannabis as a broad-range subject or product.

Mathew: Do you think that lighting the flower and consuming it that way will fall below 10% of all consumption of cannabis by 2030?

Chuck: Now I'm gonna be making somebody in the industry mad with my answer probably.

Mathew: That's okay. That's what we're here for.

Chuck: Well, given the fact that we don't cultivate nor do we actually sell dry flower, I guess I'm probably safe to say I think so. I think, look, if you look at just even smoking, I mean, you know, normal smoking is reduced to a small level or a much lower level than people probably predicted. I think you're seeing the industry really moving to more normalized consumer products. So, you're seeing a lot of people both ingesting it as well as using it topically, which doesn't even provide that much euphoria. It's more from a medicinal or wellness perspective. So, yeah, I think... I don't know if it's gonna be 10%, but I think the actual combustion of dry flower is going to be the minority and the majority will be, you know, more what I would say traditional uses of wellness and recreational product.

Mathew: One thing I think's gonna happen is that there is gonna be genetic profiling married with a cannabinoid profile to create the perfect synergy for each individual consuming. In fact, I'd love it if Dixie created, call it 23 and D for Dixie, and somehow find a way so I could, you know, give a hair sample or [inaudible 00:27:48] or something and I can find out like, "Oh, this has the most impact for you for this reason. And it's supported by the genetics." I think that's too expensive probably do now, but the price is coming down so much on genetic testing that it's just... I see it in the next three to five years and I'm hoping that I can try something like that soon.

Chuck: Well, I hope you're right and I think that as, again, the industry gets a little bit more normalized and the stigma of it goes away, we're gonna see a lot of dollars going into research and I think research is gonna drive the very thing that you just suggested.

Mathew: Chuck, I wanna ask you a few personal development questions to help listeners get a better sense of who you are. Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?

Chuck: You know, it's funny you asked because I was just thinking about this the other day. I've read a lot of books in my life, you know, trying to always find ways to improve. And I was given a book a few years ago and, again, I entered the cannabis industry initially as a passive investor and then an active investor. And then this crazy thing happened to me. And we started getting testimonials from people that we're talking about how cannabis changed their lives and how they went from, you know, being hooked on opiates or, you know, drinking and using painkillers to ward off pain.

And one was, in particular, a veteran. A Vietnam vet had terrible PTSD and they started using cannabis products. And in one case, you know, in particular, they started using our Dixie drink. And over a relatively short period of time, they were able to wean themselves off of their opiate use and really control their alcohol addiction. And I realized, you know, this was not just about making money. This was about really changing lives, and ending prohibition, and ending, you know, the silly war on drugs. And this is coming from, you know, a conservative Republican, frankly, and someone that worked in the Reagan White House. So, hopefully, your listeners aren't turning me off right now. But I read a book called "Chasing the Scream" by Johann Hari.

Mathew: I've had him on the show.

Chuck: Oh, that's...

Mathew: He's great.

Chuck: Well, then I don't need to tell you too much about how the book changed my life.

Mathew: No, please summarize what it meant to you because it's been a couple of years.

Chuck: Well, you know, it's just an incredible expose on, as he called it, the first and last days of the war on drugs. And what I found about it, you know, liking and really liking history was how, you know, what is now the version of the DEA was originally created under Henry Anslinger and how that really evolved to this terrible persecution of people and now, certainly, people of color on trying to eradicate drugs when there was a much better solution.

And, you know, he goes through, you know, really the whole history of it, even almost up to modern day to where Colorado and Washington both approved in 2013 their or the election of 2012 the recreational use of cannabis. So, that book not only made an impact on me just to understanding it more and, you know, helping be...really embrace what we were doing here from, you know, a non-capitalist point of view, but it's one that I give out. So, somebody gave me the book and now I buy the book and give it to people that I meet and ask them if they like it to pay it forward. So, hopefully, I've helped Johann make a few dollars himself on selling the book.

Mathew: Oh, that's great. Is there a tool that you or your team use that you consider valuable to your productivity?

Chuck: There is. And, in fact, that would have been the second book that I would have told you that has an impact on me. We use a philosophy, a goal-setting philosophy, here at Dixie that we put in at the end of Q4 and really have embraced it company-wide now in Q1 of this year. And it's called the OKR theory or the OKR process. That stands for objectives and key results. And it was actually a goal-setting tool that was invented by Andy Grove of Intel and was then more professionalized by John Doerr who's a legendary venture capitalist from Kleiner Perkins.

And Google, for example, credits the OKR process with their success and they use it to this day, even as big as they are. So, there's a great book called "Measure What Matters." And I would recommend it highly to you. It's a great read, but it's also a foundational element of how we here at Dixie set goals, create transparency in those goals from the top of the organization down, and really get everyone aligned on how we move this company forward and how we take accountability for meeting the objectives that we set.

Mathew: That sounds great. I'm gonna have to check that out. I have not heard of that one. So, thanks for that recommendation.

Chuck: Of course.

Matthew: This is a Peter Teal question. What is one thought that you have that most people would disagree with you on?

Chuck: Yeah, that's also a really good question. That's a thought-provoking question. I think that people disagree with me on a lot of things probably because I'm opinionated but I'm opinionated because I'm trying to drive results. I think that there... You know, I have long advocated that we don't have to sacrifice the qualitative side of what we do for the quantitative side and vice versa. So, you know, maybe it's that, you know, my capitalism meets my altruism, if you will, and even as it goes to this industry.

And I think it's okay to make money in this industry, but I don't think that you have to sacrifice the other side of it, the human side of it. So, you know, again, as an example we have put a lot of money into philanthropy here. One of the biggest surprises that I actually had over the last few years is we've tried to give money to a lot of organizations and they wouldn't take it from us because we are in the cannabis industry and it's kind of crazy. You know, we're putting that money, we think, to good use, but there was such a stigma about it.

But I think as this industry evolves, we need to look to increase the diversity in the industry. We need to look for ways to support people that are disenfranchised or have been disenfranchised and bring them into the industry, whether that's minorities, or women, or folks that just haven't had, you know, the opportunity that this industry now is portraying and providing. I'll give you a great example. We have a person that works in our lab. And, you know, she graduated from high school, didn't go to college.

She works on a piece of equipment that's probably worth a quarter of a million dollars. She's heavily involved in formulation work. I mean, she's literally learning how to be a scientist here. And if it wasn't for this industry, I don't know that she'd have had that opportunity. And so, I take great pride in the fact that we're trying to empower and grow people and bring other people into an industry that deserve to be here.

But I also have a focus on the bottom line and we need to make money because if we don't ultimately make money, then we're not able to support that more altruistic side or, you know, positive human side of what we're growing. So, that's probably something that some people would disagree with me on that you can serve both masters, but I think you can.

Mathew: Now, is there something that's not taught in school or you didn't learn in school but learning it has added huge value to you personally and professionally?

Chuck: Oh, for sure. There has never been... I went to graduate school and all through all of my education, even including that, there was never a course or a chapter of a book that said, "Never give up even though you know that the end is near." And I will tell you, I've personally stared in the abyss many, many times. Part of that is from being an entrepreneur. You know, sometimes things don't work out and you've got to figure it out. And even in this industry, I mean, it's been such a difficult industry for many with the regulatory changes, and the high taxation, and the lack of access to capital and all of those things.

But, you know, if you give up, then you actually don't get a chance to ultimately succeed on all the hard work that you put in. And so, I would say that, you know, I never was taught that, you know, you could just power your way through things. I had to learn that. And I would suggest to anybody, you know, when it looks darkest, just give it one more chance because there's a good opportunity you'll crack through and it'll be dawn on the other side.

Mathew: Well, Chuck, I also wanna give you a thank you because a lot of people don't know all the help you've given the industry at Dixie because when I've gone through on tours, there's been regulators, politicians, and people that are in key decision-making roles. And Dixie has kind of opened up and said, "Come through. Do a tour," and, you know, taken away a lot of the stigma and the worry that these lawmakers have. And that has really lifted the tide for all boats. And a lot of us are riding that tide and don't even know how we got here. And it's because, you know, behind the scenes, there are people that are trying to help the whole industry. So, thank you very much for that.

Chuck: Matthew, thank you. I really appreciate that. That's means a lot to me and I'm glad that we can play our small part in what we're doing.

Mathew: Chuck, as we close, how can listeners find more about Dixie Brands, and find products, find dispensaries, where the products are available and find your ticker as well?

Chuck: Sure. Well, thanks for that. And, again, thanks for your time and thanks for the thoughtful questions. I really have enjoyed the chance to speak to you today. Dixie is traded on the CSC under D-I-X-I.u. Very soon, we will be listed in the U.S. on the OTC, so just look for that. I can't tell you the exact symbol yet because we're still waiting for final approval. But I hope that's gonna be imminent and that'll make it much easier for folks certainly in the U.S. to trade the stock. Our products are available in the states I mentioned earlier, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Maryland, and soon, Michigan. You can go to dixiebrands.com and then we have store locators on the website as well. So, you can get a lot of information about the company both from an investment and a product standpoint on dixiebrands.com.

Mathew: Well, Chuck, thanks so much for coming on the show today and educating us and good luck to you and Tripp and the whole Dixie team.

Chuck: Thanks very much, Matthew. I appreciate it.

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