Who are you and what is your relationship to the company?
I am Angel Garcia and I Co-founded Tree Factory with my brother David Garcia. We are a family owned and operated company in our hometown, Port Hueneme-Oxnard.
How long have you been in the cannabis industry?
David has been working with cannabis for 18 years & myself 13 years. Together we formed Tree Factory, 7 years ago.
How did you get your start in the cannabis industry?
I started selling weed at a young age and I got caught almost as soon as I started. I made another attempt and quickly failed again. Through my failures I learned a lot and with my third attempt I took off and began to see success. A few hiccups aside over the years, I’ve been working with cannabis ever since and it has taken me where I am today.
How was your company formed?
Tree Factory was formed out of survival instincts. The streets had become extremely flooded and through my brother’s leadership, we began the process to take our traditional operation to the next level by getting into the medicinal market. We saw a void in Ventura County for safe access to professional, quality, reliable cannabis service. David began researching, and he planted the idea of a delivery service. The idea grew and we started coming up with names. Tree Factory was born November 2014, we got our paperwork in order and became prop 215 compliant and we officially launched in January 2015. A solid team was formed with childhood friends who were like minded and dedicated to the cause. Our company grew and we brought on more help. We recruited our sister Maria from the corporate world. Maria helped us build our infrastructure which was critical to our growth and success. Through teamwork, we have achieved major accomplishments. We couldn’t be more proud to go to battle everyday with the people who decided to put Tree Factory on their backs and establish a foundation.
What challenges did you face starting this company?
Ventura County is very conservative and there were no legal cannabis operations allowed when we started Tree Factory. Our name was chosen out of discretion as to not put a target on ourselves. We could not market or advertise, essentially, we started a business that we had to keep in the shadows.
What advice do you have for people getting into the industry?
I would advise them to do their research as with anything in life. This industry is unforgiving and not business friendly. It takes a lot, and you need a solid team. Starting up & staying in business are two of the hardest things to accomplish in our industry. Stay solid, do right by people and invest in the right people.
What do you think the industry needs most to grow in this industry?
Tax reform & a more business friendly attitude throughout California. The beauty of true cannabis culture is that its origins come from compassion culture. Politics and taxes are driving companies into extinction. Cannabis businesses pay a higher tax rate than any other industry, for the amount we pay, they need to let us be all we can be, they make us “legal” and yet they don’t allow us to flourish.
Who was your influence for wanting to be in the industry?
Legacy operators across the state have been key influences for us. Seeing the cannabis culture beyond the streets was eye opening. We had attended a few High Times events and the energy was crazy positive! We came across some amazing people, like the crew from Coast to Coast Collective (3C Farms) out of Canoga Park, Los Angeles. They put us on game and have been instrumental in our growth throughout these years.
Where do you want your company to be in 5 years?
Our vision is to have several retail locations across the state, beginning with Southern California. We have a deep love & admiration for the plant. We intend to add cultivation to our operation. It’s something we have always dabbled with but being from Ventura County, cultivation has been tough to do, nearly impossible. We stopped cultivation all together due to the risk factors, we are looking forward to doing this again, legally.
Where do you see this industry going?
Right now it seems “the industry” is trying to flush out Mom & Pop operations. Like the cannabis plant itself, we are a resilient bunch. Relationships will be the foundation in securing ourselves a spot in the future. It will be up to legacy operators to do everything we can to carry the industry while holding ourselves up, pretty much what legacy operators have been since the beginning of cannabis prohibition, it’s just a different phase of the game, with more at stake. We are in a time where shop owners would rather tell on each other rather than work together or leave each other alone. A lot of companies will be weeded out and most will barely be hanging on if things keep going the way they are.
Tell us about a time you got too high or a funny story when you got high?
I took my first dab 10 years ago and I got so high I started thinking about retiring and finding a new career. I was with a few friends and myself and a friend had never taken a dab and they packed us a fat dab each off a skillet. I was coughing up a storm for what felt like forever, it felt like I couldn’t breathe, same for my friend. We felt like we gathered ourselves and it was time to hit the road. Along the way my friend pulled over as we were still out of it. We pulled over for about 20 minutes and started contemplating our lives and we even discussed throwing out all the weed we had in the car. Thankfully the paranoia wore off and we were flying high!
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