Franklin’s Stash House brings culture and hustle to Missouri’s cannabis market
Franklin’s Stash House announced this week a new partnership with Greenlight Dispensaries to offer Franklin’s products at select locations across the state. For those from the Kansas City area, Franklin’s is a recognizable name with a loyal following that has grown rapidly since its inception. Launched in 2020, Franklin’s Stash House blends cannabis and culture seamlessly. High-quality products featuring recognizable graphics and clean, unique packaging are the foundations of building this burgeoning iconic brand.
“Franklin’s is a cross-cultural cannabis brand focused on producing great products that serve the communities we represent,” Michael Wilson, Co-Founder & CEO of Franklin’s Stash House, explained. “The brand and the name Franklin’s Stash House are the result of the creative output that comes from two different, but like-minded, individuals coming together to build a common vision. Like Jimmy Iovene and Dr. Dre with Beats by Dre, or Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons with Def Jam records, everything you see from Franklin’s is the result of the company’s combined creative energies.”
Wilson is one half of the Franklin’s Stash House ownership group alongside music producer, and legendary DJ, Ronald Rice.
“While my business partner and I have wildly different backgrounds (and a 20 year age gap) our mutual respect for one another and unique life experiences have allowed us to reach a level of success in the market that is truly humbling,” Wilson said.
“The name came from a cannabis-fueled ideation session. Asking ourselves deep, first-principle questions like, ‘What is something universal that we can all agree on in this industry? What is something that would represent the personality that we want to exude? What is something that people would see and immediately be drawn to the look and feel.’ The answer was ‘money and marijuana.’ It was only natural at that point that a $100 bill and Franklin be the identity of what we can all love. Thus, Franklin’s Stash House was born,” Wilson said.
Under the influence
Music and cannabis have gone hand in hand for decades, especially in hip-hop and rap where many of the most iconic artists and albums are tied directly to cannabis. In many ways, much of the mainstream success of cannabis is directly related to a generation who saw cannabis become increasingly destigmatized before their eyes. Snoop Dogg has been a household name for nearly 30 years and now shares ad campaigns with Martha Stewart, a sentence that would have sounded ludicrous in the early 90’s.
As a company, Franklin’s is heavily rooted in the history and influence of the music industry and blends that combination of business savvy and culture that has made some of the most successful artists and producers into icons.
“Franklin’s is a company that believes in the wisdom passed down for decades in the music industry (specifically from the rap industry) of ‘own your own masters,’ referring to the concept of owning your own publishing and distribution rights. My business partner and I have spent time in the music industry and Franklin’s is a direct reflection of our experiences. The result is Franklin’s being a 100% independent cannabis brand with equity split down the middle between the two of us – and we like it that way. It gives Franklin’s the freedom to create at a frequency and speed that is unparalleled. It also ensures that the concept of creativity, respect, and transparency are always maintained,” Wilson added.
While branding, polish, and production value may be a big part of what draws consumers to Franklin’s the team hasn’t neglected the product.
“We got our start manufacturing hemp-filled blunts using locally grown industrial hemp from Missouri’s booming indoor-hemp industry,” Wilson continued, “Franklin’s hemp-filled blunts are rather unique. Each blunt is packed with fresh, locally grown hemp flower that has been ground and sifted to remove any non-bud particulates. Each blunt is then packaged in a new type of packaging we call the ‘flat pack.”
“We spent six months working with companies all over the USA to develop packaging that not just stood out, but was capable of being manufactured in-house for short-run production or prototyping. The first 1,000 flat-packs were manufactured in-house at Franklin’s,” Wilson said, “We are rather obsessive about quality at every level of the production cycle and only work with what we consider to be the best hemp growers in the state of Missouri.”
“If you take a look inside each blunt, you will find a little “fortune” like you would find inside a fortune cookie. Sometimes this fortune may have high thoughts, blunt wisdom, or a quote from a local rap artist. Pull the fortune out of the packs at Greenlight and it reads ‘The hemp inside this blunt was cultivated by Heritage Hemp in Liberty, MO.’ We are proud of our local hemp growers and look to shine the spotlight on them in any way possible. They deserve it.”
While Franklin’s blunts are the flagship, Wilson tells Greenway that Franklin’s has several new products in the queue. Currently, Franklin’s offers three varieties of prerolled hamp blunts, hemp flower grams, and limited releases.
“We are always researching and developing. We share these concepts openly on Instagram and listen to our followers’ feedback. While today, you will find hemp-filled blunts in dispensaries, the rumors are true… we are working on a half hemp-half marijuana blunt,” Wilson confirmed.
Building a culture
“We contribute a large portion of our success in the marketplace to the fusion of the two wildly different backgrounds of our leadership. I listen and learn from my business partner about the reality of life growing up in the streets, what’s important to him as a person, what he learned after spending years in prison for a non-violent cannabis conviction and so much more. I am a sponge to his life wisdom and he is a sponge to my experience in big business, technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and more. At Franklin’s, we find that pairing street knowledge with business expertise may just be the secret ingredient to our sauce.”
While Franklin’s continues to grow at a break-neck pace, the leadership team remains rooted in the community and their mission to educate and share knowledge.
“It is important to us that we educate the communities we serve on the economic opportunity within cannabis. How real lives and entire communities will be positively impacted through the work we do in this industry. It’s an all-inclusive industry and you will be hard-pressed to find another market more willing to work with people of all backgrounds than that of cannabis.”
“More importantly, being black-owned means showing the marketplace just how spectacular a business can be when you listen to and respect the culture. It also means showing the world what happens when creativity is fueled by inclusivity.”
“We spend a great deal of time meeting with members of the community to share wisdom on the cannabis industry. We share knowledge and connect people interested in getting their foot in the door in this exploding industry. We are big believers in the economic opportunity that the cannabis industry provides and work hard to connect those with passion and hustle to their first “home” in cannabis. People we have made connections for have gone on to work at places like Greenlight and Feel State, or gone on to start their own cannabis-related businesses. We find it the most rewarding when Franklin’s can be someone’s first customer – giving them the opportunity to build a business of their own.”
“Additionally, we spend a great deal of time supporting local artists; musical artists in particular. While this is part of our background and we are deeply intertwined with the local music scene, you will find us promoting local artists that we know and love. A prime example of this is putting lyrics of a local artist on the fortunes inside our blunts. We’ve tagged local artists and local growers, of all backgrounds, on social media and helped shine a light on their talent. We’ve gone, as a team, to support local stores, local brands, and local events. It may be our DJ heritage but we believe some of the biggest impacts we can have on the community are to help elevate and showcase talent. A rising tide lifts all ships they say.”
“While we have more projects and collaborations in the works, we believe the community will find Franklin’s commitment and word to be both authentic and long-lasting.”
Getting the green light
Wilson got his start in the cannabis industry as a contractor on the Greenlight Licensing Team.
“I learned an immense amount about the business and economic structure of the cannabis industry and found the education I received to be absolutely invaluable. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to be a small part of what has now become such a big and powerful machine,” Wilson explained.
“Once Rice and I knew we had a hit with Franklin’s, it had shown some traction in the marketplace, and we had a plan for large-scale growth, we reached out to Greenlight.”
Wilson was able to leverage his experience and connection to Greenlight to create a unique partnership.
“Greenlight understood the concept and worked with us to bring it to life in Missouri’s medical marijuana market. It took six months to work out the details and get Franklin’s manufacturing in line to meet Greenlight’s demand, but the reception already has been exceptional,” Wilson stated.
“I would say Greenlight is not just a point of distribution for Franklin’s products, they have been friends and mentors to the brand. Which has shown to be extremely valuable.”
Change to come
“We’ve seen a great deal of change over the past three years in both hemp and marijuana. We are bullish on Missouri and recognize that Missouri has the potential to be a powerhouse in both marijuana and hemp. We’ve watched hemp farmers evolve genetics to be at the same quality and consistency as medical marijuana cultivators. No longer is hemp just marijuana’s little brother, it has become a gram-for-gram heavy hitter… carrying a bulk of cannabis’ medicinal benefits. We attribute much of Missouri’s booming cannabis industry to the State’s openness and dedication to a balanced regulatory system. However, we do subscribe to the belief that Missouri’s cannabis marketplace should be opened up when adult-use arrives. We believe in equal economic opportunity and encourage the wave of activism pushing Missouri in a direction that provides more access to cannabis to more people – on all sides of the supply chain.”
Today, you will find Franklin’s Stash House products in 11 retail locations across the state – five of which are Greenlight Dispensaries.