I had the pleasure of interviewing RJ Falcioni Jr. of the OutCrowd Group. RJ passed the NY State Bar exam after graduating from law school in 2011 and moved to Colorado to begin his legal cannabis career. In 2013 he moved to San Francisco to work with a well-known strain line. In 2014, he started a personalized, data-driven delivery service called Box of Jane, subsequently selling a majority share of the company and transitioning solely to the tech side of the cannabis industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I passed the NY State Bar exam after graduating law school in 2011 and moved to Colorado. There, I began my career in cannabis, supporting the director of an indoor farming operation across several homes and warehouses in the Boulder area.
In 2013, I moved to San Francisco to cultivate the OGKB (OG Kush Breath, a phenotype of the popular GSC strain) line with Norcal_ICmag, a well-known and respected cultivator (ICmag stands for — International Cannagraphic Magazine, the large online forum for cannabis). This experience led to me opening a cannabis delivery service in 2014.
Evolving on the service aspect of the industry, in 2015 I introduced Box of Jane. Box of Jane is an online personalized cannabis delivery service driven by user-provided data. Customers take a short survey on a confidential HIPAA compliant database, which is sent to an expert in-house curation team member who uses the information to curate the delivery. The service received positive coverage by High Times and Business Insider.com. In 2016, I sold the majority share of Box of Jane and focused on building a consulting network that could transition small and midsize brands into global cannabis companies that are able to compete with corporate cannabis.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

It has to do with my favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Representing Box of Jane, I put together a “green” experience for a concert in November 2017 held in San Francisco featuring Midnight North, with Phil Lesh’s son, Grahame Lesh, on guitar, along with Bob Weir and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead and members of the East Coast band Twiddle. Working with several partners, including Victory Pharms and Jammin on Tie Dye, I created a three-room fun-house for the gig. While the guests were enjoying some dabs, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead walked into to the room and was greeted by a huge cloud of smoke. Shocked, he looked at me and asked, “Can I have a Coke-a-Cola?” Bob got his cola and the dabs went on, but what a moment!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes Outspoke and the Outcrowd group stand out is our team! With a really dynamic group of people come really dynamic solutions. This shows through with the sheer diversity of the solutions provided by Outcrowd Group, from technologies like Outspoke and Outgrow to our events business, which promotes a line of events called the “Community Jam”, designed to build communities around four main pillars — cannabis, music, politics and food. Our first event was held in New Orleans as an affiliated after party for the MJBizCon event this past May (2018). The next event will be held in California this September as a benefit for, and a method to raise awareness regarding the ongoing wildfires.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Quite a few people have given me opportunities. The person I’m most grateful for is my first business partner and long-time girlfriend, Emily Thrope. A cannabis pioneer herself, Emily has judged several cannabis cups and has always supported me in everything I’ve done, from investing in projects to investing her energy in me as well.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Two — Outspoke.io which provides dispensaries, brands, farmers, manufacturers, and distribution companies with the right tools to manage their sales relationships and white label production while offering industry-curated data specifics based on several data points, all designed to create and manage feedback ROI while creating transparency in the market.
The second is the California Wildfire Relief Initiative, which I have been working on since last October when the Santa Rosa fires triggered me into action. I’m a former firefighter and my father was an active firefighter for 20+ years and held the role of Assistant Chief for many of them. I’m also a staunch conservationist and take great pride in helping those affected while educating California residents, and the world, about the Corporate Agricultural greed whose farming practices have wasted, and continue to waste, millions of gallons of water every year.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I give back as much as I can, in ways big and small. From handing cannabis or food every day to someone in need, helping sick patients with free medicine, bringing awareness and goals wildfire relief efforts and providing free support to companies that deserve it. My approach to the California cannabis madness can only be described as Zen.

Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

“Behold A Palehorse” by William Cooper. The lies sold to the populace by our government have destroyed the potential that our society and our world had. Our environment and our mentalities have been destroyed by materialism and greed, which became the “opioid of the masses” once religion took a nosedive. The truth will set us free, but sadly too few accept the truth due to how scary the truth is.

You likely have heard of the famous cliché that in a gold rush the one selling the shovels makes much more than the one who finds gold. This is the modern day “green rush”. Can you recommend to our readers 5 technologies or services that can potentially be lucrative “shovels” for the cannabis industry? Can you give an example for each?

B2B — Outspoke
Rebates — Cannopoly
POS — 420tech
Regulations — Cannaregs
Curation — Box of Jane

What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?

1. Listen to your soul – It’s a combination of your heart and head that knows where to take you.
2. Worry about yourself first – Helping others cannot be done properly if you are not taking care of yourself and your business first. This goes for homies, best friends, employees, your family and anything else. You cannot help your brothers and sisters unless you help yourself first.
3. Keep kicking the doors in – 99% of people don’t have the vision to get what you’re driving towards, keep retooling it, keep rewording it, keep talking about it, find the right version of it and keep pushing it until you have the world’s support.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Empower your employees beyond work. I consistently send employees to webinars and business classes related and unrelated to cannabis. I shares knowledge and information with everyone equally, there is no fear of them leaving or taking the knowledge elsewhere because they believe in the greater story. Reverse mentoring is another great concept; let the young guns educate the older guns about how they see things, what their demographic needs and blend the two together. Often the old guns have a great approach that can pivot to hit the young side, and, the young side will learn to soften their approach through the processes taken by the older side.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Richard Branson — the Virgin empire was built on the idea that anything can be done so long as you put your mind to it. Virgin Air is a prime example of that. I am no different. I tackle the biggest, best ideas even if I have no formal training in the subject. Hard work and a clear consciousness with the right motivation and anything can be done.
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on the latest innovations impacting the cannabis industry.