Today's show is truly with one of the first ladies of cannabis, Franny Tacy, the founder and Franny's Pharmacy, which is an amazing CBD brand, as well as a franchise of CBD stores, primarily on the East Coast. Franny is an exciting person to talk to a female entrepreneur in the cannabis space, she's a bundle of energy, and she's got a lot of great stories to talk about in terms of her experiences as a woman in the cannabis industry and as an entrepreneur in general. So it's a fantastic show. I hope you really enjoy it. Thank you.
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Franny Tacy, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining me. How are you today?
Alright, and fantastic. And happy to be here talking to you, Ashley.
Yeah, great to see you again too. Your smile lights up the broadcast here. So thank you, it's a pleasure to see you. I usually just like to dive into these things pretty quickly, so with you, I've been referring to you to some of my friends and in the industry as one of the first ladies of cannabis, so I hope that that you take that in a good way, and I'd love to know in that regard. What got you into cannabis in the first place? Why were you motivated to take this journey...
Well, let's make a really long lifetime story really fast, I went to college and Forestry School in flat Arizona, and I was studying forestry, environmental scientists wrote a paper on the interwar... No clothes totally blew my mind from that point forward, I was like, This is all... Just totally changed my perspective. I've always been a cannabis supporter, I have many women proving our accolades, all sorts of master's degrees, resources, but I did that with the help of a thesis in a way, being able to focus... So fast forward 20 years from that, always... My dad was a cattle farm where my dream was never to get married and be in a white trust, but to have my farm, so I had a Masters that we worked in forestry, Master's in Education, PhD course work with Smithsonian Institute, and found myself waning in the pharmaceutical industry for well over a decade and doing all sorts of stuff with that manufacturing was my specialty in passion, but I was in sales and marketing and ended up telling everybody, every doctor that was famously known as the happy and high heels and the anti-drug rep And we declare, this is the UN healthcare industry farmer and a boudoir in 2012, so we're coming up on our 10 year anniversary, and in 2017, just five years ago.
So cannabis wasn't even on the radar when I bought my phone or we legal... Not even on the radar. And in 2015 was teaching some classes about business of farming, and saw somebody with a little sign that said, Let farmers grow on, and immediately I went in, it was a four for like the 1958s car tables and a little poster board that he had it that changed everything, two years later, 200000, 100000 signatures, co-ops formed, collaborations with NC State in North Carolina became a... This state... Do you have an industrial hemp pilot program? Round, I wasn't even planned on growing, but everybody looked at it are like, You're gonna put a seed in the ground now... Right. And I was like, Wow, interesting. I never thought about that and was kind of... I guess I reluctantly forced to do that, which put me the first female in North Carolina to plant on the 11th female in the country, which soon and quickly followed by the first person to do it, totalitarian. That's where I really my passion is for this plant, because with my horticulture degrees and experience, there's 450000 plants out there and only one that can speed clove shelter and provide medicine that we have receptors for in our body, so we were created with this plan to go hand to hand, I love connection.
I love, love of connection, connection in every way people plant us to the outside, the outside to the inside. There you have it.
No, that's awesome. And thank you for sharing that, that's... When you put it that way, about the plant universe, 450000 of them, and we've got one that does all of that right there for enjoyment and our benefit... Right. And health and all of those things. So I've got so many questions for you, trying to just keep it focused, but where do you... You've started an amazing CBD brand, you've got an amazing franchise, CBD franchise as well on top of that. So CBD is clearly in the immediate radar, where are you going with Frances and hemp, because clearly, just based on what you just said and the passion that you have, it seems like you've got a big plan, so where do you see Frances going along the journey with regards to this plan.
I love that question, starting from a big level and bringing it back down, our company is focused on being be certified here in the process, and part of that goes back to what I said the first time I was on the news in 2017, and that Tedesco rating this plant, so it goes way beyond a CBD, it's all minor and an ala cannabis as textiles, so we'll be releasing some of our first textile scene, it's cannabis in food, but not only dhanbad in food, it's also hemp food as a super food itself, and it all relates back to our sourcing, so definitely health and wellness is where we are at with our amazing new product line that we're launching, we continue to launch new products categories, but this overall health and wellness brand goes beyond just our products, it goes all the way back to the source... And one example is our chocolates are far train source out of Nepal. When I grab the organic ICAO and the society of women that make the Fair Packaging, there's an amazing history and story with that and the collaboration with the chocolate tier that comes from over a century in the business.
This is also where we've really partnered to have a sister, I was like, We're a global citizen, I know in a multi-state operator, six dates with franchises, but global citizen, this is where we're reaching out to our farmers, and there's actually Women on sewing machines that are sewing, our tech styles, this is not manufactured, so that is really where our brands are going, our franchises or in brain case model where we have a variety of foods and bringing in the text styles all so much fun. We also incorporate him would into our franchise models, so everything we do is living, breathing and creating this industry.
It's fantastic, I love to hear that. For some of the listeners, they might know I've done a lot of different podcast episodes on the HM industry with regards to housing and building with hemp Creek stuff, it's an amazing, fascinating time, as you mentioned on the textiles, you alluded to there, you've got women sewing is that happening in the US, or are you doing that outside of the country and globally on both...
It is in Nepal, West have people that are hand-forging, seeing goals to us are very interested in Sather and used it as a grower, I use that with my plans because... So that was something that was very important to me to... And continuing to develop in this community, and what set interesting is, I love it, people love me and then they love to like try to... We're gonna get her. Where you doing this in the US? So that's our society, the demand, because that is where we are, by him, wood, we all started to... Trees are people with estate five years ago, and we are trying to create the demand here that warrants the industry, it's so innovative and new, so we had to go to a place where it exists to be a brand and with our voice and the people... We're a brand that conscientious consumers love, they find us, and they're like, We're following this. We love the path, they love the journey, they love to be a part of it, and that's how we get it here in the US, we create the demand by telling the story of why it's not here.
So it's good to.
Be on to that. I'll never abandon that community in Nepal, and we're hoping to go visit an open trip in the October where a visitor also join to go into the community there.
Yeah, no, I give you... Accolades for doing that. I think it's the fact that you have to operate globally due to the economic realities that you're facing, but yet you're still going in and you're actually operating from the heart and spreading love and light in what you're doing globally. I think that's fantastic. So there's nothing... I think, obviously, once the demand grows and you can make it more close to home, and we're selling that here in the US, you'll make those transitions, but you're gonna support the families and communities that you're developing now, I think it's fantastic. So congratulations.
Thank you, that is you along with others that support that is why we're still in business seven years later after 90% of CBD stores that have an open hub close.
It's like a graveyard out there and not in a good way, and I don't mean that to hurt anyone's feelings. It's listening, it's just been rough for a lot of people, I've been through a lot of things as well myself, so... It's a tough industry. So on that topic, what unique challenges have you faced as a woman in this industry, Franny, we all have these challenges that banking and all that kind of stuff, everybody faces the same thing, but as a woman, you've got a whole another level of challenges... I see.
Yes, I like to think that working with surgeons during my pharmaceutical day is prepared Mabel for... Is working with people that I know at emptive, aka symptoms of inflated ego, gonna get rich quick. I have the plan. And so it's a very, very male-dominated industry, I sat at the table with all men, I'm most often one of the only women in the room, and to get that respect has been earned a million times over to get that, and I'm really in a good place now, where people are calling me to the table and asking for the voice, and we've been moving major legislators, it took me being on... For the national press conference for the Farm Bill, I've got in the press 90 times and people are like, maybe she might know it, I've never been in the press, and I have the plan, but she might have a voice to listen to. I really had to earn that, and that's challenging. We had mergers and acquisitions, and a lot of people are super excited about the brand and what we're doing because in what you call the graveyard or this field of... Everybody competing on the same thing.
We have something different in me, we have a person that stands behind our products, our mission, our vision, and I show up every day in every way, no matter how difficult it is to the legislation, legalities, everything, I just keep showing up to move it forward. And that is the toughest thing. We've just made a huge win in North Carolina with passing Senate that cannabis is legal, we're actually even going all the way, all forms of cannabis, minor cannabinoids, there's just one fight after another, but I'm not just a woman, I'm only a woman on the outside, on the inside, I'm everyone, I speak for all of the people, and that is what we need. Is that voice? So I think sometimes being a woman on the outside and be in a band, I always say yes. Keep the expectations low. I'm a blow. You're right.
And lead, that leads me to my next question, which is what advantages do you have as a woman, because clearly there are some advantages as well, and like you just said, you know having people underestimate you can be an advantage in a lot of ways...
Yeah. Oh yes, you're exactly right. I've been able to fly out under the radar for a long time and just do what I do without... I do get a lot of attention, but that is the real thing, you can't not notice me when I walk in a room, you'll feel my energy and you'll see me there and you'll hear my voice speaking out for the people in the... And plant...
Yeah, it's very true. For those of you have seen ranaut in the industry conferences... Absolutely, she speaks the truth. So what's it like for any being in cannabis in the South, I mean, you alluded to the challenges in North Carolina, but let's throw on the south now on top of this, what's it been like basing that trail on intended...
I love it, I love it, but I love it. People relate to me, they feel me, they know me, and I am a perfect example of how we de-stigmatize cannabis and attract people, we are... We have our franchisees, we have two franchisees that are pharmacists, we have somebody that comes from high-end design, all these people, what I'm attracting is other people like me, and they're like, Oh my God, this is so great. I have a six-figure job in corporate America because of cannabis, and I'm gonna need to get out of this so that I can really do my life's purpose. So being in the South, it's the best opportunity right now because all we have legal is how... And we're starting to make this progress into the industry, and so business-wise, it is the best opportunity in the country, it's the best opportunity, especially in our franchise models, because we're there, we're vertically integrated, or in the states where we're moving this and people are excited. So it's a lot different when you get somebody from New York or somebody else with a heavy accent that comes down and tries to tell them this stuff, it's genius.
So perfect. So perfect team where I am right now.
That's awesome. So I know you've got the farm still operating, how much of your own cannabis are you growing versus how much are you outsourcing and bringing in from other folks, not other growers.
Through... I love this question after four years of growing on our farm, it is now, our farm is an agora tourism center, and we have a hemp history tour and garden, you're gonna see different varieties at different stages, and our farm is open to the public, so... Oldest closure costar schedule a tour. When we started this program, that first four years were the first to do a three-year complete a three-year trial on varieties by putting this into NC State, we now have our network of growers that are so solid, so consistent that I do not have to grow anymore here, we get to grow for show, on some of our discovery days, you get to see and visit tours of the farms, depending on where they are, outdoor indoor, and we're super excited. This is a year of collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, so as we said, coming out of 2021, the businesses that were in 2021, between 50% and 70% in each state closed, so all the people that were wholesale hustling had started their Entrepreneur, they had this thriving business, they're not much anymore. And so people that I started with, they developed their own thing, we all do it, they're coming back in, so we're really excited to be murdering and acquiring two other of the businesses that we've been in operations with for multiple years, bringing them in-house and will even more of our quality and door throws, super excited through one of those, we'll be releasing that greenhouse, all this great press and stuff in that within the next coming months.
Awesome, that's so good. Thank you sharing. Just switching gears a little bit back to your background, you mentioned coming from the pharma industry, and I have a long experience in the pharma industry as well, and a lot of times I say that my work now is to make amends for that, so... How does it feel to be with the awareness that you have now, how does it feel to be doing something like what you're doing right, when you come from that background of what you were selling to the population and in terms of what you were operating in with Pharma, and again, I'm asking this because I've done the same thing, and I'm curious to how you feel... Now that you get to do what you do.
That's interesting, I feel definitely like I'm living my purpose and living my mission and my vision of doing good and being of service and educating, I also feel more challenged. It's very easy to be in a system where we call it golden handcuff, you make a good living, and it's easier, it's just easier, and certainly the stress is different, and I feel a lot of things, but mostly, you know, I can't do anything else, and I think most of us, if we really reflect inward about how we behave, we do the best we can, and it's hard to live when it's not authentic, and so no matter what the challenges and the struggles and living my purpose is, it is so much better to work for a plant than to work for an industry that is not authentic and it's health, it's the UN healthcare industry, and I haven't been on antibiotics since I was 14, I don't take pharmaceutical drugs, fortunately, I worked in respiratory, which is life-saving. So I was able to justify that, and then there is a really interesting story. Part of my departure was when I was offered 180000 and bonuses to sell vaccines to infants, and I refused to do that because of my insight and knowledge into European studies and trials that show 18 to 22% efficacy.
But with the side effects, I do not feel is valid, and I did not even have my own child vaccinated, so I refused that position and vehemently pursued the path to the farm. I was like, I can't do this. They're like, Well, you can't keep doing what you're doing. Writing a 10 million territory, we need you to do more and more and more online. But I'm not doing that. So.
Good for you.
There we go. There we go.
Good for you. That's what has to happen. The people have to stop pulling the trigger on the guns in the wars, and the people have to stop refusing to fly the jets to shoot the bombs, people gotta stop refusing to make the vaccines and sell the vaccines and the other drugs that are hurting people, that's what it comes down to. So thank you for sharing that. 'cause that's exactly what has to happen. It's hard to do, you know, it's very hard to do, but it's what has to happen in.
And say that reflection. And sometimes say, What are you doing? So I have...
I still have some very close friends and loved ones that are... That are tied into the pharmaceutical industry, and you know, they'll tell me off the record, of course, but they'll say preventative medicine is the greatest risk they face, so that's not what we are allowed to call what we're talking about, but that's the idea of plant-based solutions and a better diet, and then a better spirit, those three things together can really change a life, and I'm one that... Didn't say that, I've been through that and it has changed my life, and I think you've seen that as well with your brand and the evolution. Our sponsor is mushroom tea manufacturer, Packed with Life immune boosting tea. I think I sent you a box to try from their online tea store. Would love to get your thoughts about the promise of mushrooms, they're not plants, but they're fungi, and mushroom tea is the best immune booster preventative medicine in a lot of ways. I just wonder what your thoughts are on mushrooms as a potential solution or evolution for the Franny's brand?
I think that is genius and amazing and beautiful, and it aligns with pharmacy, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, putting the farm in pharmacy, I have a lot of experience with on all sorts of different mushrooms... Love your tea. We did get to try all amongst everybody in our store and brand, and the introduction of some of the mushroom capsules in all different ways has been my biggest step forward, and I'd say the last year in my own personal health and wellness, I have taken functional mushrooms for brain health and anxiety and stress reduction. Functional mushrooms are so beautiful, and we really look at the science about this, I did a Musser intro, I've done agriculture trials for 30 years, it's my huge Stang research, the research behind Mushrooms is astounding... This is one, like we talk about pharmaceuticals, there are seven years, it's gotta go through seven phases to get into the market, they have started doing psilocybin trials, and this is a psychedelic, so that padal measure is not... You can consume it, you can't sell it, it's not like you can a bunch of these other functional mushrooms, but they did trials on that, and in phase three, the results were so astounding, they said We cannot keep this from the public, but we need to research it more so there's research centers all over the US right now in our hometown, even in Ashville, North Carolina, and I have several people that I know love and dearly that have been entered into these trials, the FDA knows it, and all the pharmaceutical companies know it, but the public does not...
Phase three, people don't ever even hear about it until it's in the final phases coming to the public and pharmaceutical companies are working on the marketing for it to make sure everybody knows if you CT, watch TV or read a magazine. So you all watch out, that's what happened. The year I bought in the farm is when they started their trials with camps, with CBD watch, I've been saying it a.
Way that's true to... It's awesome. What have I not asked you that you would like to share with the audience?
The basic thing is, if you're listening to this, obviously you're interested, so make sure you look research and go and look for him everywhere and get involved in this industry. We need your voice, we need people participating in this and moving it forward, EMPI vpro that will revitalize our agro economies in our country, and we... People aware, wake up, get involved. This is an amazing movement to do things that have never been done before, and to change the trajectory of our state... Our state of mind or state of the economy, state of existence. We can flip this. But it's we, the people. So please was Please get involved. Follow Franny Franny Tay for any farm branes pharmacy, see us, please support us, try our products, do whatever you can, that feels good and authentic, because once you know, you can know that you are here with Ashley and is today, you now know how...
You know, if you don't know, you know. That's great for... Please hold on, I'm gonna end the session with you, but I'd love to talk to you for a few more minutes, so... Franny Tacy, thank you so much for joining us and have a great afternoon. Thanks, Ashley.
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