Jason Cranford is not a man to sit still. From the get-go in his childhood in Georgia, with Air Force jets thundering overhead, time is always of the essence for this man full of real ambition and passionate determination. No one sleeps at night it seems with the sound of supersonic jets overhead, a trait he probably carries to this day even in the silence in Colorado where he lives now. I’m sure living in Colorado offers a different sound menu during the night. This inherent passion for change drives itself into the medical cannabis sector as well. That’s where Jason has built a life for himself.
People come to Colorado for healing with cannabis because the places where they formerly lived have deep seated stigmas against medical or any cannabis. I can tell you personally that cannabis was not a topic for the Saturday night dinner table in my home growing up. It was frowned upon. I can see why fathers and mothers gather their ailing child or family members up and move to Colorado. Not much can be said against that. I’m wholeheartedly for getting away from a stigmatized place and going where health is the predominate. Now, please allow me to introduce you to Jason Cranford, a most intriguing man. Cheers! WB.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me where you are from? Where now?
Jason Cranford=JC: I was born in a small town called Warner Robins, Georgia where Robins Air Force Base is located. The town is not known for much other than the military base which happens to be one of the largest of its kind in the country. I grew up with F-16 fighter jets racing through the sky breaking the sound barrier and rattling windows almost every other day. When I was a kid it was not uncommon to be woken up in the middle of the night by war game sirens on the military base that signaled parents all over the city to jump out of bed in the middle of the night and rush to work. I thought this was all totally normal until I moved away for college in 1994 and experienced what it was like not living in a military town. Athens, GA is where I ended up next and it was much different there. The sonic booms were replaced with drum circles and the late night sirens were replaced with drunk college kids yelling. To be honest, sometimes I missed seeing the fighter jets doing drills in the sky.
In 2009 I was made aware of a license that was being proposed to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis in the State of Colorado and I decided to move there from Atlanta, GA to be one of the nation’s first legal cannabis producers. Prior, to my move I had been spending summers working for cannabis farmers in Humboldt, California. I currently live in Denver and South Park, Colorado. Work requires me to travel between the two weekly.
WB: Why cannabis instead of law or medicine, or the arts? When was the first time that you discovered the plant? What are you known best for?
I was drawn in to the cannabis movement in 2009 when I saw the effects of medical cannabis on people with severe medical conditions. I quickly saw miracles happen that contradicted everything I had been taught about marijuana growing up. I saw things like cancer going in to remission, partially blind children regaining sight, epileptic seizures stopping among other things. It really was incredible.
I discovered the marijuana plant in 1979 when I was 6 years old when I was around some plants that were in a corn patch and I was told that the plants were corn. I handled them so I was familiar with the smell. I was raised by hippies and bikers mostly in case anyone is wondering what a 6 year old was doing around marijuana plants in a corn field in 1979. Later on in life when I was around 12 and came across marijuana in a joint form, I thought it smelled like corn. I quickly realized that it was cannabis that I was around when I was six and I started laughing as I hit the joint for the first time ever. I remember watering plants when I was 13. One of my family members had multiple 6’ tall plants in our back yard that we used to pinch buds off of when in was 13. I also watered a few plants for my Dad off and on when I was 13 through 15 but he will not admit it. I started growing my own plants at 17 and even set up a small indoor grow hidden in the back of an old metal shed. I have been growing cannabis for over three decades now.
I am probably best known for Haleigh’s Hope, which is a whole plant, full spectrum CBD product that is distributed internationally. I won a High Times Cannabis Cup in the U.S.A. first ever High Times Cannabis Cup held in Denver, Colorado in 2011. I took home a High CBD Award. After this, I worked for years to reduce the THC content in the strain of cannabis I bred to make it more suitable for children and after 6 years I was able to reduce the THC content to .3% while maintaining very high CBD and terpene levels. Multiple strains of cannabis went in to the Haleigh’s Hope strain. It took two years of backcrossing to stabilize it and produce the award-winning strain. The strain was previously called Bubblegum Kush but after meeting Haleigh Cox and her mother from Georgia I knew it was the right thing to do to let the strain be renamed. We decided to rename the cup winning strain to “Haleigh’s Hope” and in 2015 Georgia passed its first medical cannabis law called the “Haleigh’s Hope Act.” In 2019 Haleigh’s Hope announced becoming the first vertically integrated CBD company to achieve USDA Organic Certification for seed to sale manufacturing.
The only difference between Medical Cannabis and Recreational Cannabis in my opinion is dosing. A lot of the medical products require higher levels of cannabinoids and terpenes in order to achieve the medical mechanisms that they are being used for. Recreational Cannabis products are usually dosed lower just to give a slightly intoxicating buzz feeling and they are not really effective at treating serious medical conditions. THC is a psychoactive compound found in marijuana. It is one of the compounds that causes the high. People seek THC because it gives them a euphoric feeling as opposed to a CBD product which will only really help alleviate symptoms from their medical condition. THC can be used for medical and recreational purposes. It is a pain reliever as well as a party favor. According to recreational versus medical dispensary sales, I would say the majority of the sales are for recreational purchases.
WB: What are your six and twelve month goals? What obstacles do you face?
JC: In six months, I would like to focus on getting the Haleigh’s Hope CBD products into more store fronts so that is readily available to consumers who need it. Right now, we are relying on the mail and package delivery companies but they aren’t always reliable. The product is available in all 50 states but it would be nice for people to be able to go to a store to pick it up.. Within the next twelve months we would like to be involved in more clinical research of the efficacy of CBD.
One of the main obstacles that we face is legislation. Especially in the CBD arena. Currently, the DEA is passing rules that impact the legalities of CBD. This is always a hurdle, dealing with the Controlled Substances Act and the DEA.
What is the difference between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis? Why does the recreational consumer chase THC? Tell me about your company?
I have several companies. One company that I don’t talk about a lot is actually a cannabis company called South Park Farma. Where we grow and manufacture cannabis products and sell them through two licensed dispensaries in Colorado. One in Grant, Colorado and one in North Denver, Commerce City area.
I have another company that manufactures hemp cigarettes called Cranfords Cigarettes. We produce hemp cigarettes using USDA Organic certified hemp that is put into cigarettes that look like normal, commercial tobacco cigarettes.
I also have a company (Cannatol) that owns a couple of pharmaceutical patents. We make products like the Cannatol Nasal Spray that stops Grand Mal Seizures and cluster seizures. We make a product that is highly effective at treating aggressive forms of ASD and self-harming autism cases.
Then, of course, there is Haleigh’s Hope. It is a CBD company I am the co-founder of. We run a GMP Certified, USDA Organic Certified lab and create multiple CBD products for adults and children.
My newest company is US Hemp Co where we produce greenhouse grown, hand trimmed, custom bred, organic CBD, smokable flower. The flower we use is USDA Organic Certified and is high in CBD, unlike most industrial hemp strains. Since this is custom bred strains of Haleigh’s Hope and other phenotypes that we have developed, it is available online in 48 states.
What is your favorite food memory from childhood? What is your favorite food now? Do you cook? If so, who taught you? What does a typical breakfast look like to you?
My favorite food memory from childhood is going to my grandma’s house on Sundays. It was usually a big gathering, which close to 30 people. My grandmother and my aunt, and several other people would cook huge meals. I would always look forward to it because we were fed delicious food and all of the family got to see each other.
I like a lot of food, but if I had to choose, I would have to say my favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. It is probably one of the foods I eat most frequently.
I am actually a good cook when I have the time for it and can have the whole kitchen. I can make some pretty good dishes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen because of all of the positions that I fill with these companies.
I taught myself to cook.
For breakfast, I like eggs. I like eggs in all forms; scrambled eggs, scrambled cheese eggs, omelets, fried egg sandwiches, any type of egg is good with me except for eggs with runny yolks. . I like link sausages; I like the bacon that is thin sliced. . I like my bacon crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.
WB: What is your passion?
JC: My passion is working with special needs kids because it is really fulfilling to see the difference that I make in some of their lives.