A LIFE IN A DAY: Brett Puffenbarger: Cannabis Industry Personalities
BRETT PUFFENBARGER is a multi-talented cannabis and hemp professional experienced across a broad range of categories of the “green rush.” He’s co-founder CEO of consulting firm Good Highdeas which is focused on due diligence and investor advocacy for cannabis companies, professionals and the ‘’canna-curious.’’
Brett is best known for his work with Project Mongoose (#grassattractssnakes), where he’s collecting industry ‘’horror stories and anecdotes.’’ The plan is to publish these insights in a guide book for the next generation of cannabis professionals. Brett has been featured, mentioned, or quoted in Ganjapreneur, The Bluntness, High Times, Weed Week, Benzinga, The Fresh Toast, and more.
Here, in A LIFE IN A DAY, Brett shares with Rachelle Gordon of Highly Capitalized, what life’s like for him outside his busy working week.
What’s your morning routine, and what do you think about in the mornings?
I’m a creature of habit, so my morning routine looks quite similar from day-to-day. I wake up around 7AM every morning and immediately start a cup of coffee, put my hearing aids in, and take a few drags on a full-spectrum vape pen or pre-roll.
Mornings are my only ‘alone time’ so I usually spend about 15 minutes checking the news, another 15 checking emails from the night before, and another 30 minutes checking my social media accounts and editing my posts for the day.
This might be a bit too personal, but I wholeheartedly believe in the laws of attraction, so my morning routine is normally accompanied by listening to Bob Proctor, Rev. Dr. Eric Thomas (The Hip Hop Preacher), Jocko Willink, or similar. This routine usually takes an hour.
I think most of my morning routine stems from my time in the military. Structure and routine are comforting to me. I’ve been an early riser for my entire adult life, and spend most of my daytime hours in hyperdrive, so this little bit of structured calm is crucial to the rest of my day.
What part of the world do you wake up in the morning, and what is it like where you live?
I just moved from Florida back to where I grew up in Virginia. I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I’m currently staying in my parents’ guest room along with my wife as we begin the process of house hunting. We’re located in the heart of Appalachia in the Shenandoah Valley, and I can’t express how good it is to be home.
It’s just the beginning of spring here, so the temperature is crisp and cool–but not cold. I’ve been living away from home for the last 15 or 16 years, with almost 10 of those being in Florida. So, being back here, where there are four seasons and mountains on all four sides, just feels like all is right in the world again.
What’s the first thing you do each day, and what do you eat and drink in the morning?
I suffer from a pretty lengthy list of health conditions, thanks to my service in the Marine Corps. That makes eating in the morning difficult. Because of this, I stick to coffee and cannabis until lunchtime. The only change is every Saturday morning I go to a local coffee shop and grab a caramel vanilla nitro cold brew–for a little treat for myself.
What publications do you recommend to read in cannabis?
This is a weird question for me to answer. There are a ton of books and journals on cannabis that are worth reading, but my main source of information comes from a meticulously curated LinkedIn feed. I think for most reading this, the cannabis basics are things they already have covered, so it’s more of a matter of keeping up to date with the latest news and happenings.
I encourage everyone to find a few people or pages that source information from various places rather than following actual news sources. Pages like the BlacklistXYZ, or Beard Bros Pharms, are top choices for me.
How do you work and plan your day, what’s your job?
I work primarily from home, slightly different than most. I HATE offices. Unless I’m actively typing or presenting, I try to avoid being cooped up as much as possible. Anyone who had a meeting with me (particularly on Zoom or Meets) can tell you that I’m a borderline manic pacer who takes people on a tour of my neighborhood, or the local park, as we chat.
I plan my days out well ahead of time. It’s only been recently that I’ve been working on telling people “No.” Once 9am, or so, East Coast time starts, my life is primarily emails, Zoom and phone calls for the rest of the day. I live and die by my calendar. If it isn’t on the calendar–it doesn’t exist in my world.
My job is mostly filled with meetings and calls. It ranges from speaking with my small team about what is on our collective plate, out to meeting with new clients, or prospective clients. Good Highdeas is still fairly new [launched in January of 2021], so the vast majority of my time is aimed at gaining new clients through speaking with the media or having introduction calls with other business leaders.
Do you exercise or meditate, and what do you think about when exercising, meditating?
I can’t really exercise in the traditional sense. I have a lung condition as well as a lot of wear and tear on my joints. I do, however, manage to hit 20k steps a day on average thanks to my hardcore wandering habit while doing meetings.
My wife and I have also gotten into the habit of nightly walks throughout the pandemic, usually planned around the best Pokestops in the area. Yeah, I’m an avid Pokemon Go player too.
What do you wear these days?
I’m sort of like Doug from that 90s cartoon show in that I wear essentially the same style every day, with minor variations. I either wear black jeans or a pair of camouflage cargo shorts with a black or grey t-shirt featuring any number of cannabis-themed things.
The one item I never change is a hat. I wear a hat every day from shortly after I wake up, until it’s time to sit down and relax in the evening. Once the world is back open and we’re meeting in person again, I’ll probably lean towards black jeans, sneakers, a dress shirt with a tie tucked in, and my traditional headgear just like I have for years prior.
I think I have chosen this set of clothes similar to a uniform in the military. It’s simple, removes choices that I have to make, and it works in nearly every format from casual hanging out through boardrooms.
What’s for lunch and describe the rest of your day like up to dinner time?
I love salads. I eat more than my fair share of them. I’d say most lunches consist of a salad and water or sugar-free Gatorade. Normally my world is focused on the East Coast and internal stuff for my mornings, with lunch happening a bit early around 11 AM. Once lunch is over, it’s normally time to start focusing on West Coast clients and happenings (thanks to the time difference).
My afternoons look very similar to my mornings, so there isn’t really any difference between them aside from the “who” that is on the other end of the phone.
What are some thoughts you might have about your cannabis job–compared to previous jobs?
I love my cannabis job. It’s the best job (or jobs really) that I have ever had since the military. I thrive off fast-paced and chaotic. I think cannabis fits that bill. Even the jobs in cannabis I absolutely hated due to toxic internal culture or other reasons were better than working in the “regular” world.
I’ve said it since I was working with Buds for Vets, and primarily focused on veterans and our relationship to cannabis, but I think the chaos of combat and the oddly paced and structured world of military life translates incredibly well to the green rush. I truly wouldn’t want to work in any other industry despite my outward Love/Hate relationship with many of the ways I see the industry unfolding.
I think many veterans struggle with finding a mission that compares to the one we had while on active duty, so I am very grateful I’ve found my mission again in the weed world.
What’s your evening routine like after work? What’s your commute like?
So, my evening normally starts between 6pm and 8pm since I split my time and attention between coasts. My wife and I alternate making dinner, so that either allows me to work a little later, or requires me to call it quits a little earlier. Since I primarily work from home–I don’t really have a commute.
After dinner is relaxation time. We’re like most people, and normally binge different shows. Mostly Sci-Fi or Fantasy, but I have a habit of getting overly invested in essentially any HGTV or competition show. Right now we are watching the Great Pottery Throw Down about ceramics makers in England. I’m also a helpless fan of anything Zombies, so right now my evening TV viewing consists of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead–between episodes of pot-making.
Bedtime for me is around 10 PM, so somewhere in the 2-4 hour chunk of “family time” is when we squeeze in our daily Pokemon Hunt.
When do you consume–during the day or at night?
From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. I consume cannabis for a lot of reasons, and as such have a pretty complicated cannabis intake regimen. I’m not saying that works for everyone, or that I would recommend it for everyone, but that is what works for me.
I rely on vape pens throughout the day and prefer my Volcano or a nice bong in the evening time.
It would take a lot of time to break down the actual details of how I consume (more than would be appropriate here), but I’d be happy to break it down for anyone truly curious if they want to message me on LinkedIn or shoot me an email.
The basic details are that I lean heavily on terpene profiles. Almost all of my intake is heavy in Caryophyllene. I have to be careful with my CBD intake due to my autoimmune-based lung condition. I’m not a huge fan of the Indica/Sativa/Hybrid nomenclature, but for ease of understanding: I use Hybrids all day until after work, and indicas starting around 6pm.
What’s your bedtime routine, and what are your thoughts as you drift off to sleep?
Bedtime is easy for me. My wife and I are on very similar schedules, so we migrate to the bedroom and switch from entertainment to “learning by osmosis.” We put on a documentary about any number of subjects and begin drifting off. It really is that simple.
Normally I’m thinking about the next day by the time I’m starting to drift off to sleep. I honestly try to think about as little as possible at this point in my day. I’ve normally been up and moving non-stop for most of the day, so it’s time to start letting my brain get the rest it was probably ready for–several hours earlier.
Thanks to Brett Puffenbarger for sharing his LIFE IN A DAY.
Rachelle Gordon, Highly Capitalized Copyright © 2021. All Rights Reserved.
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