Interview with: Keenan Hollister
Interview By: Heru Amun
Photography By: Konsider
Heru: What is your thoughts on that particularly? I know the e-cigarettes have some issues. Even with the vape – when you’re talking about the wax and all that. What are some of your thoughts on that?
Keenan: A couple different things, I absolutely believe in the way that there’s no companies like Juju Joints down in Washington. In Colorado, and I believe in Washington too, they have O Pens. There are other companies popping up like that where they have these premade cartridges of CO2 concentrate. I feel like that’s a really healthy way to consume.
There’s also the dabs and all of that where it gets into something that’s intense. It’s an intense way to consume; it’s not for me. It’s not for everybody, but there’s a lot of people that really like it. There’s definitely a market for it. And the market is getting larger for the really hard core concentrate.
Heru: Oh, big time!
Keenan: I’ve tried them; they’re a little intense for me. I kind of like to stay motivated. I like to stay motivated. I’m a sativa guy.
Heru: I agree. That’s where the creativity, the enhancement, the ability…
Keenan: I don’t like to lose control. There’s nothing wrong with it; you’re not going to be in any danger or anything, but I don’t like when I’ve taken dabs before my head gets heavy.
Heru: You’re out of it. I think, too – to an extent, and you have the background – you were saying you were sports oriented, it’s more of a discipline. It’s more of a psychological balance as far as I’m concerned when you’re utilizing that. I think we’ll get more into that. What are some of the findings, some of the resources, magazines and blogs you’ve actually been following that have actually been beneficial to you – that have actually given some good information? Because I noticed a few blogs out there that kind of get you thinking about things. Then you get some blogs that are like… ‘why are they even in the industry?’
Keenan: I try to. Anything I read, I’m constantly doing research. Where we’re at right now, my job is planning this company. I’m spending an insane amount of time with my computer in my lap reading articles from like High Times and all of that. I try to pick up golden nuggets anywhere I can, in any article I can. Even if I’m reading an article of something I feel like I really have a good grasp on, I might find one or two things that’s like ‘oh, that’s a cool idea.’ I’m basically Paulo on anything and everything related to Cannabis. I read every article I possibly can. Marijuana Venture Magazine is really high quality. It’s people in the industry, a lot of time, writing the articles. Our lawyer actually has written a couple of articles for them.
Heru: Okay, I did see that. That was interesting. I had him in pictures and stuff.
Keenan: Yeah, doing a great job – really becoming a leader in the industry. She started out in the medical industry in Arizona. She’s from Alaska. She went to West Valley. She plans on setting up a branch of her law firm, here, in Alaska representing a few of the companies.
Heru: That’s really awesome. How has your luck been here within the Fairbanks demographic? Have you been accepted?
Keenan: I really watched it change quite a bit over the last few months. Where before, people thought that I was leaving a career in education and that I was completely crazy and out of my mind. And I got a lot of weird looks from former colleagues and things like that. Now, I’m watching more and more people become educated on cannabis. Realize it’s not as taboo as it once was. That was the thing; I actually think that my dad being a former business manager, me being a former educator, my mom is still an educator – we bring a little bit of credibility to the industry. We weren’t black market guys. We know the plant, we know the product, but we bring a little credibility because we were professionals in other industries.
Heru: Exactly, and it’s not stereotypes. You’re not put in that category. ‘Okay here are some folks that are actually talking some real logic, down to earth, facts.’
Keenan: Yeah. I watched my friends, and coworkers, and people become more and more accepting and more and more excited about it. I saw in Colorado and Washington, the people that you’ll see in a cannabis store. There is no demographic for who goes to the cannabis stores to pick up product. There is zero demographic. There are people that look like my grandmother, then there are the stereotypes, there are old guys in suits, every type of clothing, and every type of person. I find that really cool; it really is a universal plant that everybody can both enjoy and use.
Heru: Indeed. Indeed.
Keenan: I think the tides are changing. It’s coming along slow, but I think people are opening up their minds.
Heru: And it’s Fairbanks! I haven’t been back here; it’s been like 20 years since I’ve been back. I see the change. I see how slow the progress has been, even though I’m kind still tripping about getting product up here. The shipping and handling cost is ridiculous. You would think it would be kind of normal now since we have the invention of the internet and access to quicker vehicles to get here and there. That kind of brings me to the next particular question. How successful was the cannabis event down there in Anchorage trade show?
Keenan: Blew me away. It was great. Cory and Kendra – Ray, I think, is their last name – put it on. They did a fantastic job. One of the first things that I saw when I walked in there was the Anchorage chief of police there not necessarily partaking in the event, but not there in an enforcement role. He was walking around and checking things out, he was shaking hands and meeting people. He’s not a supporter, but he was there. He understands how things are going to be. He was there showing that he isn’t going to be a negative aspect to it. So, that was really cool. Then we had companies from all over the lower 48 up here trying to sell their wares, whether it be lighting or whatever. That’s really cool because you see these companies from other places getting started in the industry, kind of getting excited about the Alaskan industry.