Today, as Jerry Garcia’s namesake cannabis brand debuts, the beloved, late Grateful Dead frontman — who along with his bandmates was demonized for decades for drug use — would have been 78. And he would be in awe of how far the marijuana movement has come.
“He would be so excited. So proud. And [that it’s] like [saying] a big f@#* you to the man,” shared Trixie Garcia, Jerry’s daughter and spokesperson for the Garcia family, in an exclusive phone interview. “When Nixon attacked the anti-war protestors by making the drug war happen — we know that the stereotypes were artificially implanted against long hair hippies, pot smokers, and Black people. We won’t stand for that anymore. We want to uplift the stereotypes and heal some of those wounds. We’ve always worked to create a society that we want to be a part of, and are a part of, instead of being outcast from.”
It was Trixie who first revealed plans for Garcia Hand Picked (GHP) last December during opening night of the Home for the Holidays shows celebrating Jerry at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. It was five years and many meetings within the legal cannabis industry in the making. Countless companies vied for such a coveted collaboration. The decision on Holistic Industries as its official cultivation and distribution collaborator was up to the Garcia family — comprised of Trixie, daughter Annabelle Garcia, step-daughter Sunshine Kesey, Heather Katz and Tiff Garcia’s estate (Jerry’s brother who passed away in 2017).
Based in Washington D.C., Holistic Industries is one of the leading private, vertically integrated MSOs (multi-state cannabis operators) in the U.S. spanning California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.
For CEO Josh Genderson, who founded Holistic in 2011, the opportunity to develop GHP with the Garcia family was kismet. A self-described Deadhead, as is the majority of Holistic’s senior leadership team, he had turned down every licensing opportunity that had come his way. He changed his tune after a chance meeting with Red Light Management about Genderson’s advocacy for cannabis vending at concerts. Red Light happened to have Jerry Garcia’s estate as a client.
“Growing up and still to this day, my main hobby is live music and that hobby really was cultivated by the Dead and the [jam band] scene that came out of the Dead,” Genderson shared with me during a recent phone interview. “I’m 36 so I missed the boat [of seeing Jerry live], but my whole world changed when I listened to the Europe ’72 album when I was 15 or 16 — it just blew my mind.”
Aligning with a corporate cannabis team full of Deadheads was a major deciding factor for the Garcia family. The band’s legions of loyal and longtime fans are known to speak out against anything they decide is disingenuous — the news of GHP included.
“It’s always risky,” admitted Trixie, now 46. “Like, people are going to say, ‘Oh man. They’re exploiting Jerry again.’ No. That’s [our family’s] number one thing — don’t offend the fans. Don’t offend the people that Jerry means so much to. That’s the worst thing we’d ever want to do, so we lead with that always.”
Published: October 26, 2020