Marijuana companies join forces to expand beyond state lines
by Alex Halperin // April 25, 2016
DENVER — Normally, when a company based in one state wants to sell products in another state, it starts calling truckers. For Strainz, a Las Vegas marijuana company, it was more complicated.
By early 2015, Strainz’s owners knew they wanted to expand to Colorado and Washington, the states with the most normalized marijuana markets. Despite state laws that allow the sale of marijuana, it remains a federal criminal offense to ship it across state lines. And as Nevada residents, the husband-and-wife co-founders weren’t eligible to apply for business licenses in either state.
The Hempel family’s strategy for Strainz is one that marijuana companies are pursuing to build a national presence. Strainz, which recently announced that it has raised $8 million in funding, formed partnerships with the parent company of Zoots, a Seattle edibles maker, and Bronnor, a Colorado manufacturer.
The factory in Washington that makes Zoots edibles has started making Strainz products, and if all goes as planned, in the coming months Strainz and Zoots products will be rolling out of the Bronnor factory in Denver and one the Hempel family partly owns in northern Nevada.
After prison, building a new life means more than just doing right
by Alex Halperin // January 16, 2011
Last Feb. 9, Louis B. Sawyer Jr. reported to "receiving and discharge" at FCI Allenwood, a federal prison in central Pennsylvania.
He took off his prison-issue khaki pants and shirt, and pulled the jeans, sweatshirt and jacket that had been provided to him over his gangly frame. The staff completed the paperwork, and a guard escorted Sawyer to the checkpoint. His nephew was waiting in the lobby on the other side.
Sawyer passed through, and the men embraced. Someone in the background said, "You're free to go," and with that, Sawyer, then 49, who had spent more than half his life locked up for murder, walked into the winter morning. He rode to his nephew's nearby home for a special meal of grilled fish, macaroni and cheese and greens. He got to have orange juice, which was banned at Allenwood because it can be fermented into an alcoholic drink.
Sawyer's nephew, Gary Williams, gave him clothes and a black hat with a cross and "Jesus" written in rhinestones. After the meal, the family sat around talking and snapping pictures.
"They showed love," Sawyer said. "They knew Uncle Louis was home."