Photo by Jake Gravbrot

Jesce Horton, founder of LOWD, has a vast history within the cannabis space. From starting off as consumer, to growing in his basement, to founding his own cultivation facility, Horton has a wealth of respect for people who similarly appreciate both the plant itself and the deep-rooted culture that comes along with it.

Horton says that focusing business around pleasing connoisseur consumers pays off because they are the people who continue to drive the market. Those who appreciate craft cannabis can also potentially spread the word among their peers that they found the “fire,” he says. 

In this Q&A with Cannabis Business Times digital editor Eric Sandy, Horton shares the philosophy behind his company, the importance of creativity when creating a connoisseur-quality brand and offers a preview of insights he will share at the 2021 Cannabis Conference.

Eric Sandy: Can you define what LOWD means?

Jesce Horton: It’s an acronym to us, but ever since being in the cannabis community and growing up in the South, LOWD has always been the best weed. Weed that when you take it out of your pocket you smell it, and it usually has a lot to do with the terpenes, the quality, the effect and all these different things, so we really wanted to grab a piece of our culture and put a spin on it. Our acronym is focused on heavy connoisseurs in the Northwestern market—Love Our Weed Daily. We play around with it as well—Live Only Wavy Days. We come up with a lot of different acronyms because LOWD means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. 

ES: What were some of the guiding principles that you had in mind when turning this idea into a business? JH: A lot of my thought was focused on building the company, the brand and what we stand for, even down to the name. What I’ve seen is when people start a growing business, a lot of cannabis culture gets lost. A lot of it is moving toward these new consumers and away from the traditional culture that’s been established in cannabis because it’s seen as taboo. We want to put it on a pedestal; we attach to a specific segment of the market that’s pulling all the trends, so it’s owning that cannabis culture—that specific, Northwest, connoisseur, discerning culture that relates to bud and any cannabis products. 

Second, we focused on sustainability and environmentalism. We make sure it’s heavily ingrained in everything we do. Even with an indoor facility, we have very smart systems that are focused on energy reduction, water reuse, water conservation and waste reduction. All these different things are extremely important. ?

I think the last thing is being innovative; we’re innovative in everything we do. With my background in engineering, I’ve been lucky enough to have that type of German-process orientation in how I approach things on a daily basis.?

ES: Can you describe the importance of patience while finding the right site and design for a facility all while the industry is moving as fast as humanly possible?
JH: A lot of what we’ve done has been by necessity in terms of being patient—we didn’t have the funds to do it in the way we wanted to. As it relates to the genetic piece, we wanted to get our license when we applied in 2017. As we were waiting, we were taking advantage of the planning and not focusing on the shiny objects out there that we could have been jumping on, but focusing on getting the license done, doing it the right way and making sure that when we got into the market, we weren’t just another cultivation company. 

A lot of it is luck and the universe kind of helping and giving us the time we needed to get our ducks in a row to compete and win, but a lot is also making sure you’re focusing on the planning, not getting distracted and not leaving any stone unturned. 

ES: Can you talk about how the creative part of the brand is an important part of succeeding in a small-batch nicheJH: This is such a huge piece. Our team is cultivators and creatives; this is the basis of who we are. Brandon, my cousin and our creative director, sat down and saw the opportunity in this market to create a brand that really meant something and spoke from a really important perspective.

Not only do we have premium flower, but we speak for an important segment of the market. We thought it was so important to put as much as we could into branding and defining it because it’s who we are, what we believe and what makes it fun for us. It’s one of those things that comes hand-in-hand with having the best cannabis that’s representative of the culture and who we are. 

ES: What do you hope audience members will take away from your session at Cannabis Conference and bring back to their businesses?
JH: What I want people to understand about this market is that we tend to focus on the new consumers, but we can’t forget about the people coming into the dispensaries buying the ounce, not the pre-roll, or buying five edibles and not one 10 milligram edible. These are the people who will continue to drive the market because they are discerning and educated. What I want people to understand is that a focus on small-batch, premium flower that’s cultivated the right way can win and will win in any market.

Eric Sandy is digital editor of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower. Editorial intern Lily Schwab transcribed this conversation. This interview has been edited for length, clarity and style. Listen to the full conversation with LOWD's Jesce Horton here.