Known for making mega-millions in the legal cannabis space, and having the models and massive amounts of extravagance that go along with it, one might think they know what to expect when first encountering Michael Straumietis, CEO of Advanced Nutrients, but there's more than meets the eye.
Big Mike as he’s called due to his height, a towering 6’7, is like the Great Gatsby of the California weed scene. His famous fetes with endless amounts of food, booze, women and weed proceed their reputation.
It's all chronicled on social media of course with "Marijuana Don" doubling as the title of his forthcoming book and his online alias with more than 500,000 following his 420-friendly adventures on Instagram alone.
MERRY JANE slid by Big Mike's 4th of July BBQ just in time for fireworks!
Check out the photo gallery to go inside Malibu’s Marijuana Mansion and read on for our Q & A with Michael Straumietis, CEO of Advanced Nutrients.
MERRY JANE: The Marijuana Don Instagram page is wildly popular. How’d you come up with the concept?
Mike Straumietis: I started the Instagram account because I love to have fun. I guess I felt if you have to market your business, you should at least have fun with it. I died on the operating table (literally) and when I came back, I felt...I’m going to be who I am! Either they like me or they don’t. I love jets, I love women and I love weed. But, I’m also a successful businessman. So many people think you have to be a stiff corporate type. I believe if you show people parts of who you really are, that’s where the magic happens.
MJ: How did you get into the cannabis business?
Mike: I started growing when I was 23 years old. I worked in the business both legally and illegally in the US and Canada. The police were after me for awhile, but I was always amending other people nutrients and fertilizer making them better, so finally I went into business for myself!
MJ: Tell us about the first time you got high.
MS: No one has ever asked me that one before! I was 12-years-old and my older brother had just come home after Vietnam. He smoked weed and he gave a bunch to my dad to try. I remember finding three joints wrapped in strawberry flavored rolling papers. I smoked the first one and then ended up smoking all three. Later my dad asked, “Did you ever see anything in my drawer?” I guess he thought my brother took them back.
MJ: As you travel the world to talk legal cannabis, what are some of the major issues consumers should be aware of?
MS: I noticed a lot of the companies are phosphorus bombing the plant. They are jamming phosphorus in and in turn, patients are consuming products with heavy metal on it. California and Michigan are two states that have started putting policy into place that will protect patients. Our community needs to start doing things right, or outsiders are going to come in and regulate it for us.
MJ: What are your predictions on the future of the marijuana industry?
MS: The future of cannabis is identifying the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Then, you’ll be able to specify what kind of an outcome (high) you are looking for. Think of it this way: If the marijuana flower is the jet...cannabinoids are like the engine and terpenes are the flight control system. Cannabinoids power the high and terpenes direct the vibe. Based on what people want to achieve from the high (stimulating appetite, pain relief etc), we’ll be able to zone in on what in each strain creates the exact experience they hope for.
MJ: What would you say is the fastest growing aspect of the cannabis industry?
MS: Edibles and vape pens. While there is still a negative stigma attached to smoking marijuana, it’s becoming more mainstream thanks to mom's who are discretely vaping or micro dosing on a piece of THC-infused candy.
See more photos from Mike's BBQ in the photo gallery.
MJ: What advice would you offer someone who is looking to break into the legal weed space today?
MS: As federal regulation comes down, the barrier of entry into the cannabis industry is going to raise, so now is really the best time to get in.
If you run a great business, engage with clients, maintain professionalism, and offer quality products, you can succeed. There’s a whole new crop of store owners from diverse backgrounds. Some of them are even entering the industry with an MBA. It’s a different game now, and those who embrace the change will be successful.
MJ: Describe your standard smoke sesh.
MS: When i’m working, i’m not getting high. I’m not stoned during the day because I’m out talking with clients, growers, and store owners. I like to get high when I’m at home to unwind. I like to smoke Nectarine. It’s one of my top 3 favorite strains, and it is really very cerebral. I’ll do a bong or joints. Then i’ll eat an edible. I love Green Hornets right now.
MJ: What are some of your other go-to strains?