Invest In The Future Of Medicine Says Berner, CEO Of Cookies At Benzinga's Psychedelics Capital Conference

Berner, the famed rapper, co-founder and CEO of the highly successful cannabis and clothing brand, Cookies, was one of the main speakers at Benzinga's Psychedelics Capital Conference last April at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel.

In 2021, Berner launched an innovative new product line that combines mushrooms – medicinal but not psychedelic, terpenes, CBD, CBG and CBN for a non-psychoactive, uplifting experience. Dubbed "Caps by Cookies" the line debuted with two iterations: Clarity, meant for daytime consumption and Bed Head, intended for nighttime.

“Our products are not psychotropic or psychedelic… yet,” Berner told Forbes. “We're going to ease into the market. Mushrooms are important to us because any kind of alternative medicine is important to us. That's what we focus on. A THC version will follow, and eventually maybe one with psychedelic mushrooms."

The famous artist and serial entrepreneur defines himself as a “flower guy" who likes to smoke “tasty ass joints” and blunts wrapped in hemp - part of an attempt by Cookies to get users off tobacco. He added that Cookies’ “Caps” are his predilection at night time.

In an exclusive interview with Benzinga's head of content Javier Hasse, Berner talked about the growth of Cookies and its path to becoming one of the few cannabis brands to reach global recognition. 

Management 420 From A Senior Entrepreneur 

The key, says Berner, was focusing on the genetics as “catapults” for the brand, working on their menu recognition, networking with the best professionals and empowering the Cookie’s team to do what they do best, “let people you know do their thing.”

“We embraced a different model than a lot of other cannabis companies. Instead of putting all the bread [money] up and doing it fully integrated, we wanted to take advantage and network and work with some of the best operators around the world. We've been able to travel the world and find the best-in-class cultivation partners and store operators that share the same vision as us. We want to make sure that we put the customers first and focus on our genetics, our menus and our quality,” Berner said. 

“If you look at my music career, I do a lot of collaborative albums so I always believe in empowering people who are great at what they do and that just need that platform, that little juice is the way to go. There's so much talent out there to try to do everything yourself but it took a long time in my eyes and life is short. I wanted to put this thing everywhere I could while I was here and make sure we do it right,” Berner said. “Listen to your team to empower the creativity of each person. No matter what position they play, if they're in cultivation, if they're [in] marketing, if they're the head of sales, you have to let people you know do their thing.”

Planning On Introducing Psychedelics?

Berner noted the proven therapeutic effectiveness of psychedelics on cancer patients, treating the side effects of chemotherapy, and highlighted the psychedelic regulatory advances in Oakland, California and Oregon.

“We're just planning on positioning ourselves to be ready when the time comes,” he said, stressing the importance of working with professionals in developing dose protocols and holistic therapies that provide proper guidance. He foresees, in the near future, psychedelics being associated with traditional medicines with substantial scientific evidence showing their effectiveness and acceptance.

“We plan on getting the best people in the mushroom game in our circles and just being super educated to make sure we spread the education,” Berner said.

Investing In Cookies?

Cookies is still a private company. Is there any way for accredited investors to invest and back Cookies and be a part of this journey?

Not right now we're still private, we're not taking any investments, we're just rolling with the game plan we have. We've been able to build pretty strongly without taking outside investments. I think we're gonna keep it private for now. That's the number one question I'm asked and it's absolutely flattering. Sometimes it gives me anxiety by not, you know… not entertaining some of these incredible investors out there. But I think that my partners have done a great job of leading the ship. So if there is ever an opportunity for people to invest in Cookies I will let them know but for right now we're going to remain private.

Everyone Wants A Piece Of The Cookie

Cookies sealed multiple agreements with cannabis companies such as InterCure INCR, TerrAscend TRSSFGreen Thumb Industries Inc. GTII GTBIFVillage Farms Corporation VFF, and GAGE Cannabis GAGE GAEGF.

Berner said the construction of business partnerships can take a long time until the relationship solidifies.

Berner explained how the deal with Gage cannabis came about.

“People think we just go do a deal with someone. It doesn't work like that. It was about a two-year conversation. After two years, we decided we liked his operating skills, we liked his product [what] he was cultivating and we decided to give him the Lemonade brand and he absolutely did his thing with it. He killed it. And it made sense to give him the Cookies brand. Gage has done a great job of supporting us and executing our vision not only in Michigan but in Canada,” Berner said.

“To launch in Toronto was a big deal for us. To have people line up for cannabis in Canada and have lines greater than when it went legal -when cookies was being sold down the street at that moment for the same price, it meant so much to us. It meant that people wanted that brand and that experience in our store,” Berner added.

Indeed, it looks like everyone wants a piece of the Cookie.
Image via El Planteo.

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!