Dan Bilzerian Talks Ignite Cannabis and Canadian Rollout Plans
Ignite Cannabis founder and Instagram King Dan Bilzerian introduces viewers to his premium global cannabis brand, Ignite. Unlike many industry players, Ignite is not vertically integrated and plans to partner with leading growers and manufacturers to produce Ignite products. While Bilzerian is launching the brand, media personalities from a variety of industries, including Cardi B, Jai Paul, and Nikita Dragon, have also been involved in spreading the word. Bilzerian reveals the company is focusing on products with the broadest reach that can enter more legal jurisdictions. He discusses Ignite’s advertising campaign in the United States and discusses the benefits of not having a personal cannabis brand when it comes to entering the Canadian market. Bilzerian wants to develop a complete THC, CBD, and nicotine product to take on the e-cigarette market currently dominated by companies like Juul. He is committed to counting longstanding stereotypes about cannabis users and showing that cannabis consumption can be part of an active lifestyle. Bilzerian talks about using sativas as part of his workout routine in terms of benefits and drawbacks.
James West: Dan, let’s start with how’d you get into cannabis in the first place?
Dan Bilzerian: Initially, how I started smoking cannabis? Or business-wise?
James West: Both.
Dan Bilzerian: Eleven years old, golf course, tin can, first time I got high.
James West: Eleven years old. Are you California born and raised?
Dan Bilzerian: No, actually. Tampa, Florida, and then I did, I bounced around a lot, but I grew up in Tampa.
James West: Okay. I see people making a big deal out of the fact that you’re a trust fund kid. Does that piss you off?
Dan Bilzerian: No, not really. That actually helped me out a lot; that’s what helped me, you know, really make a lot of money in poker, because the thing about poker is, like, people just don’t want to play with people that can’t lose a lot of money, and so when I got into poker, a lot of people were focusing on being the best poker player and, you know, making all the perfect moves. And for me, I knew that if I just got in with like super rich bad players, then I didn’t have to be the best of the best, and it was okay to make some mistakes and, you know, give a little bit more action than you were supposed to.
So for me, having people think that, you know, that was my background was, you know, really helpful. My trust didn’t even kick in till I was 35, and I gave it away anyways. But –
James West: You gave it away?
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah.
James West: All of it?
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah, to my brother.
James West: Really? That’s – can I ask why?
Dan Bilzerian: You know, I just didn’t really need it, and I made a ton of money. I mean, I was, you know, flexing on Instagram long before 35, so…
James West: Okay, great. So you made your own money, didn’t need the trust fund. The cannabis brand Ignite is all about you, and it’s like, it’s sexy, and it’s cool, and it’s a huge brand. How far do you think that’s going to take you in the cannabis world, though? Like, I first came across your billboards mile-high down in LA and I was like, What the fuck is this? Who is this fucking –
Dan Bilzerian: Perfect. That’s what we were going for. That’s good.
James West: Yeah, so great, now you’ve got the brand. But how are you going to backfill the brand with, like, big-time sales now that you’re a public company?
Dan Bilzerian: No, that’s a good question. And you know, to back up a little bit, you know, I don’t want the whole brand to be about me. I’m launching it, I’m, you know, promoting and whatever, but you know, we’ve got, you know Cardi B is posting for us, you know, Jai Paul, he did a post free. We got, you know, Nikita Dragon; she’s like one of the most famous trans women. So we have, you know, a lot of different demographics that we’re hitting, athletes and so on and so forth. So I really want the brand to be, you know, not just about me, which is why I didn’t name it, you know, Bilzerian Buds or something, you know, like the rest of these guys.
And thankfully I didn’t, because it’s helping us out in Canada a lot with the regulatory guidelines as far as, you know, if there’s a celebrity name attached, they won’t even allow you to sell. So…
James West: Right. So how focused are you on the actual everyday management of the brand and the company itself?
Dan Bilzerian: Pretty focused. I mean, this is my sole endeavour right now. Well, not my sole endeavour, but the one I’m putting the most effort into, and I’ve got a, you know, a great team. The team is more focused on the business piece of it. I mean, I do get involved a lot in the day-to-day stuff, but I try and, you know, do more high level.
We’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming out. We’re focusing less on just, you know, the state to state stuff, the THC side, and focusing more on the things that we can get into all 50 states, foreign countries, and really, you know, making this more of a global thing.
So you know, that’s my main focus. I want one proprietary device that does THC, CBD and nic, all in one. Nobody’s really doing that. So I kind of want to attack the Juul market a little bit on the nic side, foreign and domestic. We’ve got, you know, 200 grandfathered-in flavours, so you know, when the regulatory guidelines on that kind of, you know, become unclouded, we’re going to, you know, dive into that space as well. But the goal for me is to get, you know, people to stop smoking, people to switch, you know, from nicotine to CBD, and then to have that one device when they do want to do THC and not have that stigma that’s, you know, normally attached with THC. Because you know, somebody walks around with a 510 thread, you know, they’ve got to be smoking THC. Guy walks in with a Juul, you know he’s smoking nic.
So to me, I kind of want to – and then we want to have a caffeine pod, and maybe hookah-flavoured pot for the people that have that oral fixation that don’t necessarily want to do nic or some mind-altering substance.
James West: Wow. What’s your favourite strain, bud, dab, right now?
Dan Bilzerian: Kind of depends on what I’m doing. For working out, say, Tangie Jack; for sex, more like Cookies. For sleeping, probably like a heavier indica like Wedding Cake or something like that.
James West: How much are you going to be actually the ambassador of the brand? You say you don’t want it to quite be about you, but people look at the Ignite and go, This guy’s a sex-loving party animal; that’s what I want to be, therefore I’m going to smoke and consume Ignite products. But you’re how old, now?
Dan Bilzerian: 38.
James West: 38. How long can that go on, do you think?
Dan Bilzerian: Stem cells, who knows… [laughter]
James West: Blood change, too, yeah!
Dan Bilzerian: No, you know, that’s a real thing. Have you looked into that, the blood stuff?
James West: Well, one of my business partners in my office, he’s actually the guy who financed the German blood-filtering machines.
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah, no, it’s a real thing. They’ve liked combined old rats and young rats, you know, shared blood supply; the older rats actually went back age-wise. So I think there’s a lot of stuff going on right now with medicine, like I said, stem cells is a big piece of it. So I think you’re going to see people live 150 years old in our lifetime. But you know, that’s not my goal is to be 150 years full of doing this bullshit.
But as far as the brand goes, I, you know, like I said, I’m launching it. I think it’s cool that people are aspiring to do stuff that I’m doing. How long I’m going to be going, you know, this hard, I don’t know. Probably not forever, obviously. But you know, it’s more than that, right? It’s kind of, you know, showing people that cannabis isn’t just about, you know, smoking pot, eating fucking fruity pebbles, and sitting on the couch; it’s more, hey, we can smoke, we can work out, we can, you know, surf, we can do fun stuff, we can travel the world, hang out with hot chicks, and it’s, you know, more of an active lifestyle. And that’s really what I think cannabis needs, to take away that stigma that it has of, you know, smoke pot, you’re useless, you’re lazy, whatever.
James West: Yeah. What about other drugs like the hallucinogenics?
Dan Bilzerian: Big fan of mushrooms.
James West: Big fan of mushrooms? Ayahuasca?
Dan Bilzerian: I have not tried ayahuasca.
James West: Peyote?
Dan Bilzerian: I did, once. I think it’s more of like a medicine, honestly. Peyote is not a – it shouldn’t be illegal. It’s not a recreational drug, it’s not something that you do to get fucked up with your friends; it’s more of, you know, kind of if you want to figure stuff out, take peyote, and you kind of just, you know, have the answers to your questions. I think it removes your ego a little bit, and it’s one of those things where, you know, it’s got a negative stigma, but you know, Native Americans have been using that for thousands of years. San Pedro cactus, same thing.
You know, like I said, I’ve only done it once, but I thought it was interesting.
James West: You smoke dabs before you work out; I watched a video and you had a buddy over, and you smoked this big pipe and then you work out. And I’m like, what the fuck? Like, who gets high to work out? So then I’m thinking about it, and it’s like, I wanted to actually ask you, like, how does that improve or take away from the workout? Like for me, I don’t understand how I could actually have that focus that I need to work out, if I was too high.
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah. Well, you know, it kind of depends on what you’re doing. For me, you know, if I were to, you know, smoke a fat dab and try and go do a two hour run, that’d be pretty painful. But for working out, it gives me a better mind-muscle connection. So I get better pumps. It makes the gym more interesting, and I don’t know… like I said, I respond well to sativas, but if I were to try and do an indica and do that, it might not work out so good.
Everybody’s different, so your body is just going to, you know, react to different cannabinoids different than mine. So I think people really need to figure out, like, what works for them. So for me, smoking a Tangie or smoking a Jack, or, you know, Lemon Tree, or whatever, you know, those sort of, you know, sativas or even a sativa-dominant hybrid really help me kind of like, you know, focus. Like I said, I wouldn’t do it on a cardio day; I’ve done it on heavy leg days, but it’s more of, you know, something that I think is really good for, like, arm day or chest days or smaller muscle groups. Really want to focus on that muscle and get, you know, the maximum contraction possible.
James West: You bet. Ignite’s famous for those mile-high billboards now, everywhere we go. Canadian companies aren’t even allowed to advertise. How fucked are Canadians going to be when America tries to take over the Canadian market due to that discrepancy?
Dan Bilzerian: Well, when I come into the Canadian market, it’s going to be a little more difficult for Canadian companies, I think. But I’ll be partnering with Canadian companies. So for me, I’m not trying to be a grower; I’m not trying to come up to Canada and start a big farm, become a cannabis grower, I want to partner with the best grower and put the best products in the market. So that’s really what the brand is about, is knowing that when you see that Go logo, when you see Ignite, that the product is going to be good.
Do I want to set up a farm in every single state, in every single country? No, but I want to partner with the absolute best grower in those places. So the Canadian growers that are partnering with us, I think, are going to be super stoked, because we really have the only brand that can go into Canada. Leafs by Snoop, Khalifa Kush, Tyson Ranch, Willie’s Reserve, not that those are, you know, really big brands, but those have names attached to them, celebrity endorsements, and they’re not allowed. So Ignite is my company, I started it from nothing, you know, it doesn’t have my name attached to it. There’s plenty of other people supporting it, and so we should be good.
James West: Do you think that Ignite in Canada needs a Canadian growing partner? I mean, is that because you don’t grow at all?
Dan Bilzerian: Well, I mean, you can import to Canada, so we’d have to set up a whole grow in Canada and do that whole thing.
James West: Are you having those discussions now?
Dan Bilzerian: Just as far as partners?
James West: Yeah.
Dan Bilzerian: Yes.
James West: Okay.
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah, we got a rollout planned.
James West: Okay. That’s pretty huge. All right. That’s all the questions I have for you at this point, keep in touch.
Dan Bilzerian: Cool, man.
James West: Great to meet you.
Dan Bilzerian: Yeah, likewise.
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