By: Jennifer Walker Jennifer Walker: It has been over a year since we last caught up with you. So much has been happening in the world, we hardly know where to begin! Your newest product is rosin and you also do a live resin. Do you produce this on site using your own strains? Priscilla […]
By: Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker: It has been over a year since we last caught up with you. So much has been happening in the world, we hardly know where to begin! Your newest product is rosin and you also do a live resin. Do you produce this on site using your own strains?
Priscilla Vilchis: Rosin is our newest product that we produce on site using the solventless method that we learned from some of the best hash makers. We opted for the solventless extraction method to be in line with our goal of creating high quality cannabis. Our current yield from our flower is always 20% and above. In the eyes of many extractors, that is above and beyond the usual return on any product that goes through an extraction process. We process our trim in very exclusive runs — between 5-10 pound lots of trim. All our extracts come from our cured flower trim.
We do offer an offsite live resin, the only difference is if we are creating a live resin collection, we are processing with fresh frozen buds versus our rosin made from cured, flowered trim. During COVID, I turned more marijuana into resins to conserve space in our vault.
JW: What rosin products are available?
PV: Currently available we have our prized strains: Wedding Cake, Strawberry Banana, Ghost Train Haze, and Cookies and Cream available at our top dispensaries.
JW: Do you collaborate with any other brands when making rosin?
PV: We have collaborated with some of the state’s top brands. Planet 13 TRENDI brand, Nevada Made Kabunky Extracts and City Trees have had an opportunity to process our fresh frozen cannabis. We have received a lot of positive feedback from these top extract brands, as well.
JW: How involved is your family? What are the pros/cons of family involvement with owning a business?
PV: In my twenties, I managed some of Southern California’s top physicians, helping them navigate regulations and negotiate with insurance companies as a medical practice consultant. My business endeavors were very successful, and I was able to retire my parents about 5 years ago, around the same time that I initially invested in cannabis. Today, they are both involved in my business because they enjoy it. My father is the security manager at our facility and if you’ve met my father before, he fits the role perfectly. Previously, he was a bounty hunter in Los Angeles. My mother oversees all our bookkeeping and previously worked in the same industry as I did, helping medical professionals navigate regulations and negotiate with insurance companies. My sister is our office manager and her fiancé manages our cultivation facility. They both just welcomed a baby boy a couple weeks ago. The first Vilchis grandchild! My other two siblings are not old enough to work with me, but I look forward to them joining the family business and bringing their bright minds to the table.
My COO, Alex González, is basically my brother. We are not blood related, but he is my best friend and we have been through a lot together since we both invested in Premium Produce. The Vilchis family has been such a close-knit family that working together was inevitable. It is important to be surrounded by a supportive and loyal circle and that’s why working with family has been a very rewarding experience. We are building our legacy together and each and every one of us is invested in making sure Premium Produce and our cannabis line Reina is successful. We all share the same perception of work value, success and leadership, and familismo is an important cultural value. Familismo derives from a collective view in which family comes before oneself and it involves dedication, commitment, and loyalty to family. And this connection to family values has led to a strong company culture.
I can’t think of many cons of working with family because they are my rock. We are all on the same boat in the middle of a storm and we all have a role in making sure we survive and get to shore. I wouldn’t be in this unpredictable business with anyone else but my family. Even my employees are like family. Pre-COVID, we would cater lunch, mostly every Friday and bond. Many of my employees are senior citizens and they are the most hardworking, loyal and appreciative people who care about my family as much as we care about them. During COVID, we had to furlough many of them for their own safety and it was a difficult decision to make. We are a mom-and-pop cultivation facility. We are Las Vegas homeowners. My siblings go to school here. We are invested in our community and it is something that definitely sets us apart from other cultivations.
JW: How are you expanding in/into California? Dispensary, cultivation…?
PV: When I first invested in Cannabis in 2014, people called me crazy. Now they call me a genius. In 2014, the legalization of marijuana seemed like such an absurd idea and many thought it would be just a matter of time for the federal government to shut down all cannabis businesses in the states that had legalized it. Now, fast-forward to 2020 – in the middle of a pandemic, I’m expanding my business to my home state. Some people advised me to wait. They said that there might be another shutdown. And, I didn’t listen to them. I listened to my instinct, even though it is deja vu all over again and people are calling me crazy again. Risk is what I’ve known all my life, taking risks is what has gotten me this far. So, in a couple of months, we will have an 11,000 square foot cultivation facility in Lynwood, California. We will be growing, packaging our own products, selling Reina to dispensaries and also delivering straight to consumers’ homes.
JW: We have that in common, we also launched in 2014, pre-recreational legalization. We love your instinctual motivation; it is so inspiring! What challenges have you faced with COVID-19? How has it affected you personally, professionally?
PV: When the Governor ordered the shutdown, it felt like someone had just poured a bucket of ice cold water on me! There were more questions than answers. Orders decreased immediately. Dispensaries were selling and pushing their own products, not many of them were set-up to do deliveries and we no longer had sales driven by tourism. Many of my team members are seniors and I had to furlough them immediately for their own safety and also because we had to make very difficult decisions to make sure the business would survive. We didn’t know how long this was going to last. We also couldn’t stop growing the plants because that would have cost millions of dollars so we started piling up our vaults and conserving space by turning the marijuana into oils and resins. The bills also didn’t stop— including electricity and $15,000 to $20,000 a month for plant nutrients, quarterly tax bills to the county and to top it off we were left out of the COVID-19 relief packages. But the most painful decision was furloughing 85 percent of my staff – that took a toll on me mentally. But I had to shake it off and be optimistic for my family, for my team and myself. And here I am now, ready to create more jobs while members of my team, who feel safe to return, are resuming their work at the cultivation.
JW: That is humbling to hear. In the spirit of moving forward, what do you have coming up in the future?
PV: I’ve had to fully dedicate myself to the operation of my business, expanding the Reina cannabis and CBD line, and now expanding to California. I really look forward to returning to my mission and that is making marijuana reimbursable by insurance carriers. I have experience navigating insurance regulations and I would like to use my knowledge to help pass a law. I would also like to continue working to make cannabis a diverse and inclusive industry.
JW: Where can consumers find your products?
PV: Our cannabis products are sold at Planet 13, Nevada Made (Henderson, Laughlin and Warm Springs), The Grove, Deep Roots, Jenny’s Dispensaries, Curaleaf, ShowGrow and Euphoria. You can also follow us on Instagram @reinalv and @hollyweedqueen.