EXCLUSIVE: New York Innovation At Its Finest - FreshTag419 Contactless Blower For Healthier And Precise Cannabis Consumption

Founded in Yonkers, New York by two old friends, Doug Rota and Al Tagliaferri, FreshTag419 is a family-owned startup that has produced a unique contactless device that eliminates concerns about smoking and sharing, but more importantly, it's easy on your lungs.

The FreshTag419 family met up with Benzinga at the Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami where they explained how the concept for the contactless blower came out of the pandemic, literally. 

Doug Rota, a teamster for 40 years, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-February 2021. Hospitalized in New York City, Rota was on a respirator for 13 days followed by weeks of oxygen treatment. “I honestly didn’t think I’d make it,” Doug said. “I was dying. I’d said goodbye to my wife and family.”

When Doug finally began breathing on his own, which happened to be on April 19, he asked his daughter, 25, to help him design something that he’d envisioned while in the fog of COVID: a contactless blower for cannabis consumption. “I asked my daughter Rachel to design it. Gradually we got it produced and now we’re ready to spread the word.” 

Why It Matters

By eliminating the need to touch your lips yet still be able to share, FreshTag419’s contactless consumption method delivers a smooth, clean pull that's easy and light on your lungs. For starters, the smoke is not hot and the device’s metal plate captures the tar and residue to prevent them from seeping into the smoke, explained Rota’s 23-year-old son Rob. 

“Our blower works by allowing you to control how much organic matter you want to intake at a push of a button…literally! It operates by using a fan to draw the smoke from the bowl through the nozzle and out into the air via a smooth smokescreen. It’s not only contactless but much better for one’s lungs," Rob said.

FreshTag419’s contactless blower (Photo courtesy of FreshTag419)

Rob continued: “We aim to eliminate the need for people to put their mouths on dirty bongs or inhale paper full of chemicals from joints. Our blower tackles the modern problems of our world through innovative solutions; for people to consume in an easy, simple and contactless way.”

Setting Up The Company

Even a family/friend startup needs direction and that's what FreshTag got when Louis Russo came along. A college friend of a friend with a mechanical engineering background, Russo jumped at the chance to help with the design and function of the blower. He has since been named president of FreshTag. Rob Rota refers to Russo as "the backbone of the company."

Al Tagliaferri, an attorney who focuses on wireless communication and oversees the legal patents of FreshTag LLC. As partners in the company, Tagliaferri and Doug Rota have known each other for over five decades. They met in kindergarten. Hence the company name: Fresh for Doug after rap pioneer Doug E Fresh, Tag for Tagliaferri and 419 for the April day Doug was finally able to breathe on his own.

Josephine's Leg

Who Is Josephine?

While visiting Jamaica, Tagliaferri learned about the so-called blow dryer treatment from a woman named Josephine. As the phrase implies, exhaled smoke from a plump ganja spliff fills the air and the blow dryer directs it toward whoever wants it wafted their way. 

“FreshTag419 is a tribute to Jamaicans,” Tagliaferri told Benzinga, "and to Josephine." 

Family Affair

Like so many great inventions that got started in our parents’ garage or basement, FreshTag419 is no different.

“Not only are we set up in the spare room here in our Yonkers apartment, we often set up our wares in the halls or cafeteria of cannabis conferences,” Doug said. “The response has been awesome. We’re ready for lift-off.” 

And by lift-off, Doug means that FreshTag419 will be available for retail sales at NYC’s WeedWorld by the 4th of July and online as we speak.

“So, if you’re looking for a power hitter/shotgun effect then this device is a must and it's easy to use, to clean," Doug said. "It's affordable and available now.”


Posted In: CannabisNewsEntrepreneurshipRetail SalesEventsStartupsSmall BusinessExclusivesMarketsInterviewGeneralAl TagliaferriCannabis ConsumptionCCCcontactless consumptionCovid-19Doug E FreshDoug RotaFreshTag419Louis Russonew yorkNYCRachel RotaRob RotaWeedWorldYonkers

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