How Charlie Bachtell Built a Cannabis Empire: A Story of Passion and Opportunity

Vangst/Jun 07, 2023

hero-graphic-How Charlie Bachtell Built a Cannabis Empire: A Story of Passion and Opportunity

Unleashing the Power of Cannabis – Charlie Bachtell’s Journey of Social Impact, Entrepreneurship, and Advocacy

Welcome to this week's episode of Proud to Work in Cannabis with host Karson Humiston, CEO & Founder of Vangst. In this episode, we have a special guest, Charlie Bachtell, CEO & Founder of Cresco Labs. Charlie shares his inspiring journey of entering the cannabis industry, the challenges he faced, and the incredible opportunities it presents. Let's dive into the highlights of this episode!

Charlie's Story of Getting Into Cannabis

Charlie's interest in the cannabis industry sparked when his home state of Illinois passed The Compassionate Use Act. Being an attorney, Charlie recognized the immense potential in this newly regulated industry. Illinois aimed to create a professional and trustworthy cannabis industry, and Charlie knew he had the skills to contribute to this vision. The impact of cannabis on medicine, social justice, and culture fascinated Charlie, motivating him to become an advocate for the industry.

The Kismet Moment That Charlie Decided to Join the Industry

Entrepreneurship requires spotting opportunities and contributing to their success. When Charlie saw the unique balance between opportunity and contribution in the cannabis industry, he knew it was the perfect fit for him. Despite the stigma surrounding cannabis, Charlie recognized the potential for growth and the chance to build trust with stakeholders, consumers, and the community. The passing of the Compassionate Use Act, Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN documentary, and the release of the Cole Memorandum further solidified Charlie's decision to enter the industry.

The Humble Beginnings of Cresco Labs

Charlie sets the scene for his license application by reviewing the timeline between when his first daughter was born and when the application was due to be delivered. A chaotic time, no doubt, Charlie describes the application process for a cannabis business as brutal but rewarding. Despite his initial uncertainty, Cresco’s application scored the highest among the 170+ submissions. This success demonstrated that Cresco Labs understood what regulators were looking for and aligned with Charlie's vision for the industry. Charlie acknowledges the challenging funding environment in recent years and emphasizes the need for continued progress in the cannabis industry.

Experience Taking the Business Public

Due to federal cannabis prohibition, cannabis companies have had to go public on the Canadian Securities Exchange, considered the "juniors exchange." Charlie explains that joining this exchange was necessary to access capital more affordably than through venture capital. This move highlights the resourcefulness and adaptability of entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.

SAFE Banking and the Cohesive Cannabis Message for DC

Cresco Labs prioritizes responsible and respectable development of the cannabis industry. Charlie emphasizes the importance of understanding and addressing the concerns of community stakeholders. Building a cohesive voice in Washington, D.C., is crucial for advocating for the industry's needs. Charlie believes incremental change supported by both sides is the way forward, with a focus on treating the cannabis industry like any other legal state business and ensuring access to growth funds.

How Industry Employees Can Drive the Movement Forward

Charlie encourages industry professionals to exercise their voting power and elect officials who prioritize cannabis issues. Constituents' voices have a significant impact on legislative decisions, making it essential to engage with representatives. Charlie reminds us that representatives are eager to hear from their constituents, and vocal advocacy is often the key to getting cannabis-related bills passed.

What Charlie Looks for When Growing His Business

When it comes to hiring, Charlie looks for professionals who are passionate about the cannabis industry and eager to contribute to its growth. The unique challenges of the industry offer opportunities for learning and problem-solving, making these qualities crucial for success.

Exciting Things to Come for Cresco

Charlie expresses hope for the first piece of federal reform in the next 24 months. The cannabis industry continues to evolve, and Cresco Labs is ready to contribute to its progress.

Proud to Work in Cannabis

Charlie Bachtell's journey into the cannabis industry is a testament to the positive social impact and growth opportunities it presents. From his humble beginnings to the challenges faced, Charlie's story inspires job seekers and professionals in the cannabis industry. Listen to the full episode of Proud to Work in Cannabis with Karson Humiston and Charlie Bachtell for a deep dive into the fascinating world of cannabis. Remember, the cannabis industry needs our support to be treated like any other state-legal industry. Let's join forces and drive the movement forward!

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