Carmel Magazine

CM sm HO19, Nov

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 219

52 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 9 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Rob Weakley President and CEO of INDUS Holding Company R obert "Rob" Weakley's name and reputation are well known to Carmel area gourmands and oenophiles. But after a lifetime in the hospitality industry, he took a dramatic and pioneering turn in 2014, when he was among the first to enter the nascent cannabis industry. At that point, the medicinal use of cannabinoids in California had been legal for just five years; recreational approval was still four years off. Weakley's two-decades-long hospitality career began with a Culinary Arts/Chef Training and Hospitality Arts degree from Paul Smith's College in New York. He is a certified sommeli- er, and his culinary journey took him to Florida, Chicago and Colorado before he arrived in Carmel as Executive Assistant Manager and Food and Beverage Director at the Highlands Inn Park Hyatt. After 13 years with Hyatt, he knew that to advance his career he'd have to relocate. Weakley and his family had fallen firmly in love with the Monterey Peninsula, so in 2008 he co-founded Coastal Luxury Management. The organization was behind Pebble Beach Food & Wine and several restaurant ven- tures, including the Cannery Row Brewing Company and the now defunct 1833 in Monterey, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in Las Vegas and Los Angeles' Faith & Flower. Upon depar ting Coastal Luxury Management, Weakley formed a Salinas-based company to produce gourmet-level comestible cannabis products under two brand names, Altai and Dixie Elixirs and Edibles. That was in 2014 and following relaxation of marijuana laws in many US states and Canada, the firm has morphed into Indus Holdings, Inc., a "vertically-inte- grated cannabis company with advance production capabilities, including cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, brand sales and marketing and distribution." Weakley now holds the Chief Executive Officer title and travels extensively, as of September having flown nearly a quarter-million miles in 2019. Q: What interested you in the cannabis industry? A: I spent eight years building Coastal Luxury Management but always had an eye on the infant cannabis business. At the time, the products were Saran-wrapped cookies made in home kitchens and garages and the results were not reliable in terms of the quantity of active ingredients. My partner was a pastry chef and we saw an opportunity to bring a consistent product to market that would give the same effect every time. Q: How has the company grown? A: Five years ago, we started with four employees. Today we employ 350 and have 220,000 square feet of production and an extraction facility, all in Monterey County. Indus owns 14 brands and we represent more than 40. We supply 85 percent of all licensed dispensaries in California. We are focused on being the leader in our sector here. This state is the largest cannabis market in the world. We have assembled a top-level team of business veterans. Joe Bayern, our President, was CEO of VOSS water, a Norwegian premium beverage brand. Vice President of Sales Mark Russ was Vice President and Sales Manager for Constellation Brands and prior to that was a VP and GM for Red Bull America. Indus' Chief Compliance Officer, Kelly McMillan, spent 34 years on the Salinas police force before joining us. Other principals have come to us with experience in industry-leading companies such as Anchor Distilling, Mann Packing and Diamond Foods. This is a great team. Q: What do you see as the future of the cannabis industry in general and its place in the Monterey County agricultural community? Will it reach the size of the wine sector? A: The mechanisms of change are fast-moving, and we are witnessing the evolution of cannabis across the country. While it wouldn't be prudent to claim the industry will be as big as wine in Northern California, if we maintain the standards of quality that our consumers have come to rely on, while at the same time forging and nurturing strong relationships within the community, we will see cannabis become one of the region's premier industries. —Michael Chatfield

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Carmel Magazine - CM sm HO19, Nov