A love of high-quality cannabis has inspired John Salley and daughter Tyla Salley to embark on a quest to expand social justice and break the stigma in the industry, and a recent partnership with Nevada-based cultivator Flower One Holdings, Inc. has propelled their mission forward.
John, a four-time NBA champion, co-founded Los Angeles-based Deuces 22 with Tyla as a cannabis lifestyle brand with a focus on quality and convenience. The company strives to provide consumers with high-quality, locally produced flower, and has also established an educational platform called Deuces Academy to spread information about the plant.
Last month, Deuces 22 officially entered the Nevada market—and made its U.S. debut—when it inked an agreement with Flower One. Per the agreement, Flower One is now licensed to manufacture, distribute and sell Deuces 22’s selection of flower and pre-rolls in Nevada.
“We started basically just because of a love for cannabis and wanting to have quality cannabis … that had a good standard for always being great,” Tyla tells Cannabis Dispensary. “We found that was sometimes hard to find at the dispensaries, so we decided to take it into our own hands, especially since I personally felt like representation in the cannabis industry was lacking.”
John cites a friend who is serving 20 years in jail for growing cannabis, something that state-licensed operators across the U.S. are now doing legally in commercial facilities. “When we realized that [there are] more black people in jail for this and there were people growing hundreds of millions of acres of it and now it’s being [legalized], of course the social equity part was important to us,” he says.
“Cannabis is something that has a very long history in America, and right now, there are a lot of people who are in prison from something that we’re trying to make money from, and that in itself is institutionalized racism,” Tyla adds. “It all stems from the backs of different black people trying to make money … and being penalized for it. We’re trying to take over that narrative and destigmatize cannabis.”
Change Through Education
John’s mother is 96 years old and taking CBD, something that would have never occurred to her in the past due to years of stigmatization surrounding cannabis, he says. This inspired Deuces 22 to launch Deuces Academy.
“We first decided on the idea of having Deuces Academy because we wanted to have quick facts that people could spit out when having conversations to combat any of the stigma that comes with cannabis, just because there are so many lies floating around,” Tyla says.
Deuces Academy is a platform that answers common questions about cannabis, she says. “We wanted to have a place where people could go, learn about cannabis, and empower themselves with all things cannabis and all things Deuces.”
As research is released, the company hopes to distribute it through Deuces Academy, John says, and it hopes to complement that platform with an upcoming documentary.
“We’re also shooting a show of the making of this brand, following Tyla through different grows, … having them explain their different grow techniques [and] what they put in it,” he says.
Entering the Nevada Market
Flower One, a publicly traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange, will license the Deuces 22 brand, but John and Tyla will choose the plant material that goes into the products to ensure quality and consistency, John says.
“With Flower One giving us over 400,000 square feet to pick from, we don’t have to worry about running out,” he says. “We don’t have to worry about the quality going from place to place. We know these growers, we’ve been inside, and we understand that they know how to get the things into our package.”
Tyla echoes her father’s assessment of Flower One: “Their quality control I was really impressed by. It also felt like they were visionaries in cannabis. They’re thinking 10 steps ahead, and they have ideas set in place almost as a safeguard to try and use cannabis to its fullest while also not compromising the plant. That’s something I really like because it shows that we could grow together.”
Deuces 22 will initially launch into the Nevada market with flower and pre-rolls, but John says the brand will later introduce cannabis oil, oral sprays, vegan edibles, and CBD topicals and tinctures.
The company’s products will be packaged in biodegradable and compostable materials that break down within 10 years’ time, John says. Next year, Deuces 22 will launch hemp-based plastic packaging that will decompose within three to five years, he adds. The company will also place an augmented reality feature on its labels, which, when scanned through the Deuces 22 app, will display a message about the product’s authenticity.
“We want to recreate this process in every recreational state in America and, eventually, the world,” Tyla says. “That’s why we’re launching in big markets like California and Nevada, so that the brand is recognized and we can continue with expanding throughout the country."