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'It's Just Weed, Man': A Chat With Old Pal's CEO Rusty Wilenkin

'It's Just Weed, Man': A Chat With Old Pal's CEO Rusty Wilenkin

By Javier Hasse and Natan Ponieman

Old Pal is a cannabis brand that focuses on keeping things simple. Taking a step away from the premium shelves, the company sells cannabis flowers and vape cartridges with a simple concept: “It’s just weed, man.”

Co-founder and CEO Rusty Wilenkin said he started the company with business partner Jason Osni in June 2018. The duo aims to dominate the affordable markets that most competitors are leaving behind.

Keeping It Simple

“We're specifically focused on building a lifestyle brand in the cannabis industry, bringing communities together and pushing for the normalization of the plant and its use. We are more than a product brand at Old Pal; we are movement and getting customers on board and stoked everywhere and every way they interact with our brand,” Wilenkin told Benzinga. 

The company identifies itself as an ode to simpler times, “when weed was just weed and joints were passed around to old pals and new ones.”

For this reason, Old Pal offers only three variants: indica, sativa and a hybrid, turning their back on multiple strains and sterile-like products.

The company's goal is to capture the market segment that wants to enjoy marijuana without the confusion of product overload. 

“We are one of very few brands going after the affordable, accessible shelf," the CEO said. 

"Most of our competitors don’t focus on our segment of the market. It seems the majority of the market is chasing the premium, high-end product space, and we are happy to let them."

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Growing Strong Independently

Old Pal’s strategy is to create a strong brand that consumers can identify with, offering a consistent and affordable product.

The company is aiming at markets nationwide. Old Pal products are now available on shelves in California, Nevada and Washington, with Florida on deck.

“As we look out over the coming quarters, we’ve got our eyes set on Michigan, Massachusetts and New York as it comes online,” Wilenkin said. 

Although the company is set on expanding, it does not have an interest in M&A for the time being.

“While I am really happy for my friends and peers in the industry that have had successful exits, that isn’t our goal. We view Old Pal as a timeless brand that can stand on its own. We aren’t building this for a quick flip, or to rush to go public. We are building a brand with a longer-term view and plan to be here for multiple generations,” the CEO said. 

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