Interview with Peter Barsoom (Nuka)
On May 2nd, Peter Barsoom of Nuka will speak at Kahner Global's Cannabis Private Investment Summit West in Beverly Hills, CA. This event gathers industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
With a robust background in finance, what drew you to the Cannabis industry?
It started with my wife, who has used cannabis much of her adult life to help with anxiety. While I had been a casual cannabis smoker for some time, it was never part of my daily routine. Seeing the impact that it had on her opened my eyes to the immense medical benefits of cannabis. When I left the finance world four years ago, we were inspired to join the growing cannabis market. At the time, I was also interested in exploring different ways to reduce my smoking as well.
Coincidentally, when we arrived in Colorado, we noticed that despite how much the quality of weed had improved in the last 5-10 years, little to no progress had been made in the edibles space. Edibles still delivered inconsistent results. You did not know how they were going to make you feel or how long they were going to take to kick in. Plus, they tasted bad. There was nothing out there for consumers like us. We wanted an option that offered predictability, consistency, great taste and specific experiences.
Since the beginning of history, humans have used different types of products - pharmaceutical, natural and synthetic - to make us feel one way or another and perform better. When you wake up in the morning, you may have a cup of coffee to give you energy. At the end of the day, you may drink a glass of Chardonnay to help you relax. You may have a Xanax or Ambien before bed to help you sleep. Simply put, our mission is to give people access to cannabis and plant-based medicines that offer a powerful, safe and effective alternative to these products.
Your product is chocolate based which everyone knows and loves. Plus you mentioned the chocolates are mixed with plant-based medicines like Theanine which is found in tea. Do you believe through these ingredients, consumers are more comfortable trying your product?
I do. There's no question that a lot of people have had bad experiences with edibles. But, by creating controlled, low-dose products that pair cannabis with more familiar plant-based medicines, we are opening people's eyes and changing the narrative. Using a universally loved vehicle like chocolate doesn't hurt either.
At the end of the day, we are first and foremost experience-makers. Our products help people experience more energy, better sex, deeper sleep, more peaceful relaxation and even euphoria. Plus, we are introducing a whole range of other familiar formats including pills and beverages.
You touched a bit on new products, based on the current trend in CBD mixed with larger market distribution, do you see an opportunity to create a line of CBD only products?
Yes. Everything we do right now is 1:1 THC to CBD. We believe in the benefits of this mix. We are planning to launch a line of supplements that encapsulates all of our experiences with CBD only. Stay tuned!
Where do you see fast acting edibles in the larger cannabis market?
While smoking is the dominant form of consumption right now, we believe that edibles are next. People are simply growing less and less interested in ingesting smoke.
In 5-10 years, where do you see the future of cannabis commerce?
We are going to see cannabis commerce look more like alcohol. When you walk into a liquor store, you see a wide