Network: I’m over here interviewing Scott, the CEO of California Finest. Hey Scott, let me ask you a question – how long have you been doing this?
Scott: My whole life.
Network: What made you get in the 420 world? When did you start smoking if you don’t mind me going there?
Scott: I started smoking about thirteen – fourteen years old.
Network: When did you first see it? Did your parents smoke?
Scott: I remember seeing my uncles with ziplock freezer bags full in the early 80’s but that shit smelt different back then. I haven’t smelled that smell since my childhood. I still don’t remember what the buds look like I remember now, that it was a smell that I haven’t smelled since then.
Network: So who introduced you to it. Who was the first person you smoked with?
Scott: Dam, introduced me to it…it was probably one of my neighbors. Growing up in an apartment complex here in Hollister, I had a lot of neighbors and weed was everywhere.
Network: So are you originally from Hollister?
Scott: Yeah. Born and raised.
Network: So basically thats where you’ve been all your life.
Scott: Yeah. That’s all I know.
Network: In the world of the bud there’s always a good and a bad thing. Give me the pros and the cons of some of the things you’ve gone through in this business?
Scott: Many raids, many many fines. You know I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get to where I am today. In order to get a legit operating agreement with my county of San Benito. But it took a lot of hard work and dedication.
Network: So is it true that you have the only license to grow unlimited or is that not true.
Scott: As far as my legal team tells me… that is the case.
Network: So you use to have a collective in Hollister.. Correct?
Scott: Purple Cross Rx. We operated in Dec. 2009 all the to now. With locations in Hollister, Los Banos in San Benito County.
Network: So you had Three Locations. What made you stop doing that and come to California’s Finest?
Scott: I was about to get sued by The City of Hollister,The City of Los Banos and The County of San Benito. Hit by everybody. So basically, I backed out of Hollister, I backed out of Los Banos and hunkered down on my location across from the San Benito County Jail.
Network: You were literally right across the street?
Scott: Right across the street.
Network: That’s crazy. You know people wouldn’t believe that if you said that to them. So you’ve gone through a lot of struggles.
Scott: Yes. Very much so. I was in the paper every week. A bunch of lies, a bunch of things that were said about me.
Network: What were some of the things they said about you.
Scott: That I’m corrupting the community, that I’m a gangster, a bunch of bullshit.
Network: The cold part about that is that you’re a family man. You don’t get involved in negative activities. Is that correct?
Scott: No. After all the raids and all the searches. There was never one file charged on me, The Judge never shut me down, The County plea dealt with me to get out of the Lawsuit and gave me an operating agreement that i was going to manufacture, assemble Marijuana products, grow with no limit and to transport off the property all signed by The Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County so they can get out of the lawsuit. Like I said, the judge wasn’t ruling in their favor and The County already racked up of $150,000 legal bill from an outside representation that they had to hire to deal with me.
Network: So pretty much money talks and bullshit walks at the end of the day?
Scott: Yeah…I just stayed by ground and operated with the fear of the Feds kicking in my door every day for four years, I finally just waited and outlasted The County.
Network: So how did this affect your family life? Not being in the streets, not being a gangster, as a family man, what was that like with the raids and your kids, what did that feel like?
Scott: Oh, my kids were sent to their grandparents and taken away from us for a few days, but like I said after the CPS investigated and when raided my house they didn’t find one roach. So they searched my workers houses and they searched houses all over town looking for my crops. What they didn’t understand is that I was growing on my own facility. They couldn’t comprehend that. That kind of showed their cards and showed my cards.
Network: So, basically you just did what you always did. You were always a man of your word and that’s why you’re successful today. Is it safe to say that.
Scott: I would say so. I took a lot of money out of the black market and gave it back to the community and thats why I’m doing today.
Network: So you’re basically saying, because you stood up for your rights you almost lost your family. Your kids.
Scott: Oh yeah! I mean I literally did for a few days. After the raid they said the kids had to stay with their grandparents for a weekend.
Network: It’s an emotional stress to the kids right?
Scott: Oh yeah can you imagine the SWAT team coming in multiple times, they used to take me down while I was on the road, with my kids in my truck. On my mom’s birthday I got arrested for sales and I wasn’t even selling, I was coming home from a birthday party with my mom and they decided to swoop me up and threw me in jail. But all of that was three years ago. No charges have ever been filed. The statute of limitations is long gone. I got a deal now with the County, the Sheriff’s are in compliance with me.
Network: Was it an emotional stress? Was there ever a moment where you broke down? Where you couldn’t take in anymore?
Scott: Eh…in some sick way I kind really just thrived on it. It was a rush. I grew up on probation since i was eleven years old. I grew up in the system. As soon as i turned eighteen i got caught my first felony for transporting and sales and went straight into the jail system and was always on probation until i was about thirty. So you know this was a way to exercise everything i learned in the system and how to work the system to my benefit.
Network: You know what your nickname is… you’re the Cesar Chavez of Cannabis. You really are. you really fought for your rights. you really strove and struggled for your rights. So basically, stand up for what you believe in brother.
Scott: Oh yeah. Even if they put me in prison I didn’t give a fuck. I was still gonna go hard. Luckily, knock on wood I’m not there I’m here making marijuana cigarettes.
Network: At the end of the day it was a hard road and I noticed that since you’ve been doing California’s Finest, you’ve jumped in and did a lot of collaborations like Cookies with Berner and then you did some business with Baby Bash.
Scott: Ever since Purple Cross days back in 2010 we were always trying to get something together. We were both moving too fast. The concept of California’s finest is about who was really there from the start. It made sense though. I needed a good vibe to represent the company. You know and me being from The Bay Area, being from the street being, in the music industry with my own label and knowing other artists, back in 2009 on the National Lowrider Circuit my artist and I went on tour with Baby Bash. So I got to know him and knew right away that he was the fact that we wanted for the company. To really take it and put it in peoples faces. Baby Bash and I ended up being partners in California’s Finest.
Network: So how’s the relationship with you and Baby Bash? You guys are close friends right?
Scott: We just love the heavy Indica. Sweet tasting Indica. All these things get started with our smoking taste. He’s a real laid back smooth cat and thats how I like to roll. Real lay back, take it easy, get real high.
Network: So how have things been going with you and Berner. With the Cookies. That was a nice collabo?
Scott: Yes, I would say success. We gave a lot of shit away.
Network: What other collabos do you have coming up as far as the flavors.
Scott: Well right now we have about fifteen different strains. We’re launching at hempcon, we’re launching the cbd strain of charlotte’s web and also the breeder strain of skittles. Lemon Tree we’ll release next month. Probably at another show.
Network: So basically you’ve taken this to the next level, you use high grade loud packs. Break down the product for us real quick.
Scott: It’s all made from Top grade Indoor buds. So we get the pounds and we process that, by hand, We grind town the material. the most gooiest, stickiest, sweetest flower that we can get our hands on and we roll them in RAW papers and tips into a perfect cylinder cone, fill them up with freshness and discreteness, you know for smell proof. People like to travel with these. and then we place them in a familiar style cigarette box. Which has all our logos and disclaimers and information on. And we actually include a boob tube so if you can’t finish your roach or your joint you can put it in there and woman or a man can walk around with their pack in their purse and not stink up the package.
Network: So these are singly wrapped water proof and smell proof packaging. Is this correct?
Scott: Exactly. Their all sealed here in our factory in Hollister.
Network: What’s the shelf life on the product?
Scott: You know what to be honest, the longest I’ve had one on the shelf that was good enough for me to try was about thirteen months later and I tried it. It was still fresh it was still good. So I have some put away. I’m going to wait and crack those open in about two years.
Network: So this is basically like a wine thing? You age it to see how far it will go. So you do actual experiments to improve your business is what you’re saying.
Scott: yeah, we actually find that the bud is still occurring when its in the joint. We make sure that all the buds that are put in the packs are cured for at least two weeks to three weeks. We learn something every day here and we’re still feeling out the process of how we cure them.
Network: This is some real science.
Scott: Oh yeah. Back in 2013 we won with US High Times Cannabis Cup, Best Product in a Booth. In 2014 we didn’t do any products and in 2015 We came out right away with Hempcon Best Product : Sour Cookie Kush. We just entered Berners Cookies in the San Francisco Hempcon this week so i’m sure we’re going to walk away with that one. So every event that we have coming up we’ll most definitely try to get up in the Pre-Roll category or Best Product Category.
Network: You’re doing vending machines also correct?
Scott: Yeah. I’ve been doing vending machines. I had a med box back in 2011 I believe. It was a $30,000 vending machine. I went and got me one back then. Now we’re going to get into a more medical style box. Maybe like a 60’s or 70’s style.
Network: Like a retro look. That will be funky. Any Shout outs?
Scott: I’d like to thank anyone that’s involved.. from Bash to Berner. Our Workers and our Employees to my family.