Older generations may have thought James Dean and cigarettes looked cool, but for us, it's Snoop Dogg and a blunt. And while Colorado's cannabis industry has revolutionized many of the ways we consume the plant, blunts have remained largely unchanged.
Maybe that's because of a state law banning tobacco products at pot shops, or maybe pot companies are too scared to compete with our personal rolling skills and the pride we attach to them. Whatever the reason for a lack of innovative product, we need more blunts in dispensaries — and Gentleman Quinns agrees. A pre-rolled-blunt company using hemp wraps to create some of the fattest bleezies on the legal market, Gentleman Quinns was founded by a group of friends who met each other during recreational weed's early years.
To learn more about the story behind Gentleman Quinns and the power of the blunt, we caught up with co-founder Jarell Wall.
Westword: Your website says you founded Gentleman Quinns in 2015, but your blunts are just starting to pop up more. Take us through your legal cannabis journey.
Jarell Wall: In 2015, I met my now-partner, Austin Plumm, at Chronorado Medical. He was a general manager there for some years, and I was brought on to do marketing there. We both clicked with the actual “Gentleman Quinn,” a budtender who got hired around the time I did. We did something of a team-building smoke out in Table Mesa, where GQ rolled his blunt that looked like a tree branch. Crazy-fat and smoother burning than anything I’ve seen...Austin and I instantly thought this was pretty unique compared to anything we’d seen at dispensaries. Back then, there were no blunts in the Colorado market because of the tobacco issue, so places didn't even bother. We thought if we could crack this, we could drive in more customers to our shop.
The group put the thinking caps on, figured out what would work and how we could sell this to the owners of the company. Eventually, we all met, with a prototype blunt and packaging that Austin hand-made. They were impressed with our effort and allowed us to try the product out. That's how the High Class Big Ass Blunt was born.
In 2015, a forty-blunt limited release dropped. We sold out of those within a couple of weeks. There wasn't much marketing other than Instagram, a Culture magazine product review, and a web series we did with Denver music producer Leon Kadillak. The owners allowed us to try another run of blunts, which also sold out quickly.
This turned into a series of meetings with [an infused-product manufacturer], where we got a look at what it took to be licensed and compliant. An offer was presented to bring us in mid-2016, but the offer wasn't good, so we chose to go on our own.
We settled on a crowdsourcing campaign in our attempts at licensing costs. We were able to get some attention from a couple of ladies at Mass Roots, and they blasted our campaign on an email newsletter in fall 2016. A few interested parties contacted us, but one guy talked to us about our vision, his understanding of the cigar market, and how this could be something. That's how we got our first angel investor and mentor, Jeff Finch. From then on, we navigated Colorado’s compliance, met with lawyers, regulators and property owners to find a zoned property that would work. In late 2019, we got all the necessary licenses to be operational, and here we are.
What is it about blunts that are cooler than other forms of smoking? What draws you to them, personally?
Blunts and joints are the preferred method of smoking marijuana where I'm from. That's how I got familiar with the culture, from music to the people you’d meet. So the blunt, to me, is more synonymous with marijuana than edibles or goo-pens. I think it has less to do with being cool than it does with the significance it has to pre-legalization, and one of the only ways to enjoy your flower back in the day. I grew up on Snoop and Black music, so blunts have been in my lexicon for years before even smoking.
How long does one of your blunts last?
I think that depends on how seasoned of a smoker you are. A Gentleman Quinns Blunt is very big in comparison to many pre-rolls on the market. We’ve had sessions with five to seven people that went around more than twice and lasted for about forty minutes. But we strongly recommend, with the current state of things, that you don't pass. Smoke your own blunt, and put it out. It’ll taste the same each time you re-light it. Plus, the flower is full-nug and hand-selected from the best farms in Colorado. There's never any trim touching when we make GQ blunts.
Colorado state law bans dispensaries from selling tobacco products, so you use hemp wrappers. What are some differences and advantages to the hemp wrap?
We went through a ton of research and development to make sure this product had every detail right; this included the material we chose for our wrap. We had talks with places that made completely green cannabis wraps, palm wraps, rice and mint wraps, and we tried ’em all. But we eventually settled on the hemp wrap. We liked that it gave a familiar look but none of the tobacco, additives, numb lips, throat scratch, or the terrible back taste you get when re-lighting. The hemp wrap and the sealing fruit pectin never impeded the taste of the flower.
A dispensary lists a Gentleman Quinns blunt at over $38 before tax. That's about the same price as an eighth at most dispensaries. What are customers getting for all that money when they buy a Gentleman Quinns blunt?
We provide something that can't be replicated. All of our blunts are hand-rolled and guaranteed to have the best flower in the state, period. You can buy flowers from a shop that's not very good, and be stuck with them, and you can get your friends to lick on your tobacco wrap blunt. That's not the type of smoking experience you get with a Gentleman Quinns Blunt, because we’ve taken the time to roll thousands of blunts and get every detail right. We have customers buying these as wedding gifts, or to show a “new to cannabis parent," and they know they can count on a GQ for a serious and high-class smoking experience.
What are some of your favorite cannabis strains right now?
Most of what's coming out of the House of Rare Dankness is a can't-miss proposition. OG Medicinals has this Glue Cookies strain that's pretty ridiculous. Gelato and Rare Darkness have been [favorites] around the group lately.
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