In this Cannabis Creative Interview, I sit down with Jason Reposa, founder and CEO of Good Feels. We talk about advances in cannabis science, the issue with isomers, the impact of paying employees a living wage, and offsetting their carbon impact.
The cannabis industry is a space that welcomes innovation. If you can’t find the product you want, why not make it?
That’s exactly what Jason Reposa did. Reposa is the founder and CEO of Good Feels, a Massachusetts-based cannabis beverage manufacturer.
A nasty case of TMJ brought Reposa back to cannabis. He was looking to get off his prescription meds, and broadened his horizons to try cannabis for the first time in two decades. But Reposa was never a fan of smoking, and he began to search for alternative consumption methods. His deep curiosity led him to creating a mini home laboratory, where he began experimenting with alternative options that fit his vegan lifestyle.
Reposa is a born entrepreneur, and he had already built and sold companies. When 2020 arrived and he found himself in need of a new direction, he decided to explore the cannabis beverage space in the expanding Massachusetts market, starting with the formulas he had already been consuming.
Two years later, Reposa and Good Feels is a leader in the industry, not just for their delicious beverage formulas and discreet consumption methods, but for their community initiatives as well. ‘Do no harm’ is Reposa’s guiding principal, and it plays out in every level of his company.
Good Feels is environmentally conscious, using renewable energy sources and offsetting the carbon emissions of its employees and shipments. Everyone on his team is paid a living wage, and they’re actively involved in organizations like the Big Hope Project.
Good Feels is available at dispensaries in Massachusetts. If you’re in the neighborhood and want to support a locally-owned business that’s investing in its community, reach for a can of Good Feels.
What’s something you see that you’re not a fan of?
JR: I just love technology; science and technology.
There are so many cool people doing science. There are the cannabinoids themselves and there are the terpenoids. And there’s also flavonoids and stuff like that, but mainly terpenoids and cannabinoids.
The plant itself produces 150 plus cannabinoids. And many have not been named on the majority of them have not been named at this point. They all have chemical symbols attached to them.
We know cannabinoids are doing the majority of the work probably, but does terpenes actually have a role in that? And the science says that the cannabinoids are primarily doing in the majority of the work.
But that’s what excites me now is the science and trying to prove out some of these theories that people have, whether it’s anecdotal today, it may be science in the future or it might just be fun.
You want to have fairly impartial studies, not funded directly by a manufacturer like myself, where we’re like hey, let’s go prove a bunch of things about my products. Although at the same time, we might have to just do some of this on our own internally just to verify even some of the stuff. And beyond that, to be able to make additional potential supportive claims. But, I don’t want to go down that path because then you get into FDA, so you have to be careful with what you say.
What’s something you see that you’re not a fan of?
JR: The scapegoat right now is synthetics. They haven’t been studied and I’m not making any claims that they have medical benefits, but they may. So I don’t want to put them down immediately just because it doesn’t.
However, I have been educated a few times on isomers, which has posed issues in the past. I’m talking about the actual chemical itself; an isomer is basically when you change a chemical compound.
So if you take [Delta]8, for instance, if you look at that chain, one of the bonds could be somewhat in a different position. Just flipped like that. If an isomer is a situation where one of the bonds is flipped, it just looks a little bit different and therefore it may be attached a little differently. When you synthesize Delta 8, you’re not getting purely one isomer, you’re getting potentially a group of them.
Messing with isomers is a risky path to go down because when you synthesize these chemicals, you don’t necessarily know exactly a hundred percent where you’re getting sometimes. So the lab said, you got all Delta-8 here, that’s because it’s based on weight, and they all weigh the same. They’re identical except for one flip. So you can’t tell which one you get.
Another thing I’d say, people who are opposing as altruistic, but are actually in it for the money. So for instance, a lot of the Delta-8 manufacturers, or the people who are doing Delta-9 by weight, that whole hemp thing. It’s a very gray, and in my opinion, it’s probably closer to the darkest shade of gray in that case. Because you’re trying to really construe the law in a way that is just benefiting you for monetary purposes, because they don’t want to go through the actual process of setting up a licensed operation.
How are you pushing for diversity and inclusion in cannabis?
JR: We have our diversity plan, that’s a requirement through the CCC. We go beyond just hiring diversely, we’re also selecting vendors diversely as well.
We go a little bit above and beyond to make sure that we’re selecting from social equity as much as we can. We’re pretty good about that stuff, but we could always get better.
It’s all about do no harm for us. That’s where we start. Because do no harm means not just the environment? It’s about people to it’s your employees, your community that you’re in. All those things matter when it comes to do no harm, because if you just pay people a living wage and you raise them up a little bit. So we’re just basically saying, we’re going to do our best. We’re going to pay a living wage.
And then obviously carbon neutrality or even carbon negative when you’re actually sequestering more carbon out of the environment that you’re producing at least getting neutral is the goal. Using a hundred percent renewable energy, all the environmental things, but also on the community level.
I feel like expungement is probably where my biggest passion is right now, as far as doing a little bit more beyond just the, the basics of diversity. If the law was never right to begin with, you should just immediately reverse them.
How does sustainability factor into your business choices?
JR: All our energy is a hundred percent renewable right now. So everything coming in is either powered through wind or solar. Unfortunately we don’t own the building ourselves, so we have to rely on renewable energy credits to be able to accomplish that.
Our intentions from the beginning were to make something that was either fully compostable or fully recyclable. There are limits of what we can do. Child’s resistance is a thing; it’s a part of the regulations in any state for this cannabis industry. So to get around CR is really, really difficult but using as much renewable materials that is really, really important for us.
We offset all of our employees’ commutes. If you’re traveling in from one part of the state to our facility, we offset that carbon. Then beyond that, we offset all of our freight coming in as we get our bottles or something like that. Bottles have to come from Missouri, and from Missouri to Massachusetts is a certain impact. We can calculate that based on weights and based on all this other stuff, and then we can build that into our carbon offsets. Then we add an additional 10% above that just to make sure we’re covering as much as we can. And it’s easy for anybody to do really. I mean, there are five or six different providers of this service out there for businesses.
What do you see as the future of the cannabis industry?
JR: I would say the future of cannabis though is us.
You’re always going to have the craft cannabis consumer who wants that beautiful, perfect smoke. We have a bit of bunk on the market, depends on who you go to. There are some better ones out there, DM me if you need to know but I’m not in the smoking and vaping side. It’s a little bit different for me because I only consume our own products at this point.
We are the future of cannabis. It’s a kind of a bold claim, but products like ours as well. When I talk to people, they’re like “the more cannabis beverages the better right now.” It’s not just limited to beverages, but it’s these entry level products. That’s how you get people into these things.
There is some inevitability that when federal legalization happens, everybody’s just going to run up to the store and buy weed, but, who knows? Federal legal – who’s that good for? It’s good for the states that aren’t legal. It’s good for the operators because 280-E goes away, which is a huge tax burden. And then it’s also good for the operators that can just, all of a sudden, they can take their main location of Massachusetts and just drive to New York and deliver a shipment. It’s good for the people who are in prohibited states.
What kind of experience do you want people to take away from your products?
JR: A positive one.
The way we always say it to people is after the first one, you feel a little bit lighter in your shoes. But after the second one, you’re giddy. You’re having fun now. And by the third one, you’re already thinking, I’m where I need to be. And then you can kind of titrate and level off or keep on going with that same pace. So very similar to drinking a beer in that sense versus a traditional edible.
I want people to enjoy themselves and really feel like cannabis has worked the way they expected it to work versus having an edible waiting an hour and then having a panic attack in bed. We are the antithesis of that. We want to make that’s how entry-level and how approachable we are in this industry. We want to make sure that we’re making a consistent, great experience.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
JR: I would say trichomes. The plant itself doesn’t contain the cannabinoids. trichomes are secondary metabolism and that’s where everything is, the majority of it anyways.
It’s a beautiful plant and it has so many utilities and but the cannabinoids? We’re talking about these little bubbles. This is something that Frenchie was harping on. That’s how I learned all this stuff was Frenchie back in day, years ago now. But seeing pictures of what a trichome actually is like blew my mind.
And I love that fact because, only people in the industry and cultivators more specifically, understand a lot of these things. I think that’s a wonderful fact that like the plant itself doesn’t produce cannabinoids, it’s a separate metabolism on top of literally the plant that is creating all these cannabinoids.