Alex LeVine, the co-founder and CEO of PodTones is — to place it mildly — an outspoken force when it comes to cannabis. And his enterprise, PodTones, is a physical manifestation of that.
A lot more importantly, following just one particular puff of a PodTones vape, you will comprehend and deeply appreciate the individual fire that LeVine brings to the neighborhood. His determination fuels his drive to develop clean, protected solutions that provide an astonishing pure practical experience.
So, no matter whether LeVine is waxing rhapsodic about the supremacy of Southern California pot, decrying the negative company that led to the vape crisis, or explaining how each aspect of a PodTones solution came to be, he holds practically nothing back. In a planet exactly where deception overpowers ethics in advertising and marketing and marketing, LeVine’s honesty couldn’t be additional refreshing. On prime of that, LeVine’s enthusiasm is positively intoxicating — just like his vapes.
The MERRY JANE employees got to sample the complete line of PodTones solutions and we can attest that the vapes, and anything LeVine says about them, are the genuine deal. Following all, LeVine wasn’t Snoop Dogg’s individual weed supplier for seven years simply because he was a novice!
Following we came down, we caught up with LeVine to speak about PodTones, creating rosin, “Frankenstein” weed solutions, and the time Uncle Snoop vaped a PodTone. Appreciate!
MERRY JANE: Inform us a tiny about your self and how you got into the cannabis company.
Alex LeVine: I’m from Boston and, as a youngster, I lived in Kenya and Mexico. I graduated from Harvard with an electrical engineering degree. Later on, I was in the music market and then I got in on the dot-com boom in New York City.
In 2004, I moved to Los Angeles. It was in the early days of dispensaries and I was just blown away by the choice of flowers. I decided to start off cultivating. So, I was cultivator for a lengthy time.
For ten years I worked with Kushmart, which was the most significant dispensary in Hollywood. It was for the duration of that time I supplied Snoop. He was a typical client and he normally purchased my solution, and then somebody began operating straight with him.
How had been you in a position to shift from engineering to dot-com function to cultivating?
I found I have a super sensitive sense of smell. I was normally conscious that I could smell anything about me all the time — I just did not know that other persons could not smell it.
At one particular point, I went with my girlfriend to a perfume shop in Paris and the perfumer and I began speaking about some of his scents, and he looked at me and stated, “You have a nose like me — a perfumer’s nose.” I was like, “Wow, that explains a lot!”
When I began finding into pot in LA, it genuinely was wonderful getting my sensitive nose. It genuinely permitted me to hone in on what the finest strains had been. It also permitted me to know factors like if mold was in a area. I can just stroll in and smell if something’s off in a giant area of flowering plants just primarily based off the scent.
It is essentially my secret weapon when it comes to creating wonderful pot simply because, at the finish of the day, if I believe it smells wonderful and tastes wonderful, so will everyone else.
PodTones solutions are 100 % pure rosin vaporizers. How did you come to make that your concentrate?
In 2012, I began performing vaporizers. When I heard about the invention of the e-cigarette, I believed, “You know, that is got to be the way that persons consume pot in the future.”
It is great. For the reason that becoming in a position to roll a joint and burn a joint is all properly and great, but most persons cannot roll and most persons do not want to burn one thing with oral make contact with. Also, most persons do not want that lots of hits.
But back then, the technologies wasn’t there. The original e-cigarettes had been plastic tubes that looked like cigarettes and had a tiny capsule of impregnated cotton in the middle. There was no way to place something inside it. I got one particular and took it apart, but there was no placing pot in it back then.
By 2012, the e-cigarette company had genuinely taken off and there had been a lot of makers in China, and I began operating with them to modify batteries and cartridges so that they would function with cannabis. That was the starting of cannabis vaporizers.
Back then, rosin hadn’t been invented, so we did it all with BHO or butane extract. A handful of years later, I found rosin and switched totally to rosin. It was a wonderful leap forward. Ultimately, we began PodTones.
In light of the vape scare, what are some of the dangers that buyers do not have to be concerned about with PodTones?
Unless it really is found that pot itself is toxic, there’s not going to be something to be concerned about with our solutions. We do not use any solvents. We do not add something. So, genuinely, what you are finding is pure plant oil that has been minimally processed.
That, in essence, is what humans have normally been smoking. If you believe about it, simply because the cherry ember at the finish of a joint is burning and sending super-hot air by means of the column of the joint and vaporizing the oil in its path, we’ve normally been vaping the pure oil. And that is basically what we’re performing at PodTones.
The vaporizer itself is also super clean. It is cost-free of heavy metals and the heating chamber is produced of pure ceramic. So, practically nothing is leeching into the oil — it is just pure cannabis oil.
Our competitors use distillates. A distillate is purified THC oil extracted from huge quantities of low top quality pot employing highly effective industrial solvents. The solvents tend to strip out most of the original flavor and leave behind a bunch of off-notes, so they mask it with flavorings and dilute with additives. No matter whether these flavors and additives are protected or not — we do not know.
That appears like a scary factor not to know.
When you have supposedly pure THC oil that says “85-%” or “90-%” pure that is been manufactured in that way, you have got to ask your self, “What’s that other 10 %?”
To my nose, when it is 10-% other stuff, it really is entirely disgusting and it ruins the flavor totally. Also, who knows what that other stuff truly is? Either way, that is when they then add flavorings — no matter whether it really is “all-natural” terpenes derived from agricultural crops like lemon peel, or no matter whether it really is straight up artificial flavors like crème brûlée. They do this to mask the off-notes of the THC oil, which is as successful as spraying deodorant on marathon runners. So, certain — you can taste the crème brûlée, but you can also nonetheless taste what ever that grossness is and there’s no finding away from it.
And simply because my nose is so sensitive, I truly have a fairly keen awareness of toxins as properly. They just smell negative. So, one thing like the smell of a new shower curtain just tends to make me want to definitely gag. I smell lots of these notes in these distillate-primarily based pens. I do not know what’s in there, but it does not appear protected to me, and it is by no means tasted protected to me. With PodTones, you by no means have to be concerned about us testing any new chemical substances on your lungs.
Can you take us by means of the simple approach of how a PodTones solution goes from becoming a plant to a vape?
We start off with super-premium top quality flowers that are expanding in Southern California. So we’re beginning with the finest pot on earth, the most seasoned cultivators, and award-winning blockbuster strains. We function with farms to make certain they have wonderful plants expanding.
We do not use trim, we start off with actual flowers. When it is harvested, it is promptly preserved in a deep freeze that maintains all of the cannabinoids. Folks ordinarily reduce the plants and dry them, which requires about one particular-to-two weeks. The difficulty with performing it that way is the terpenes deteriorate. Terpenes are crucial to top quality flower and a wonderful higher.
We maintain the plants cold and then we do an ice water hash extraction, exactly where we mechanically separate the trichomes from the rest of the plant supplies. We use pretty fine micron filters to get just what we want. We then take the hash and dry it, which appears like a bunch of white sand. It is essentially just a bunch of trichome heads. Then, we take this white sand more than to the rosin press exactly where we place it in a pretty fine filter bag, however a different filtering stage, ahead of we place it in between heated plates. These heated plates push out the rosin and that is genuinely the oil inside each one particular of these trichome heads.
It is pretty difficult to get the oil to function in a vaporizer and that is aspect of our proprietary approach. But we take it and get it into the pods. So, that is what you are vaping. It genuinely is the cleanest way to make the purest extract. It does not strip out any of the flavors, and it does not add any contaminants. It is genuinely just the purest extract you can get.
We’ve attempted the distinct varieties of PodTones and we could genuinely inform the distinction in between “Up,” “Fun,” “Chill,” and “Dream.” How do you make that come about?
It is the entourage impact. That impact is the cause why persons smoke pot. Pure THC, by itself, is not an enjoyable practical experience. The entourage impact is THC plus the terpenes that are naturally in the plant.
So when we make rosin the way we do, we’re bringing along the terpenes the plant is supposed to have. The net outcome of that is you get a distinct, strain-particular higher that is noticeably distinct from other strains’ highs. If you attempt our 4 distinct tones, you will notice 4 distinct effects.
Our competitors who combine terpenes with distilled THC are type of playing God, or playing Dr. Frankenstein. They’ll do some testing and find out, say, Blue Dream has limonene and myrcene, so they will place THC distillate with some lemon extract and some hops extract and sell it to you, saying it is Blue Dream. That is comprehensive bogus!
Why mess with nature when that is the finest?
The strains that are out there now in Southern California are practically nothing brief of extraordinary. Our approach makes it possible for persons to just practical experience that, rather than some sort of weird, Frankenstein analog that is genuinely just a advertising and marketing ploy to sell persons pretty cheap distillate.
We make a super-premium solution and it undoubtedly expenses a tiny additional than our competitors but — it is the genuine deal. I believe persons are going to appreciate that even additional following this vape crisis exactly where the entire market went so far down this path of Frankenstein extract.
Do you have any wonderful Snoop stories?
I would say each Snoop story is wonderful story. He’s precisely the Uncle Snoop you see on Television. He’s super good, he’s not a gangster and, I’d say, each time you hang out with him, it is a story. He’s a fascinating guy.
When I very first began creating vaporizers, he was essentially my test client. We had been nonetheless mixing flavors and he had a song named “Fruit Juice,” so I produced him a flavor named Fruit Juice. It had strawberry extract and lemon extract so it was like a strawberry lemonade combined with Pineapple Express.
For years, I had been supplying him by means of an employee of his, but then when I heard he was going to be at the dispensary, I went to meet him. He was impeccably dressed, and he smelled great.
It was crazy. I appreciate Snoop’s music. I’ve been a fan considering that his very first album, so I was genuinely excited to meet him. When he found I was the one particular who developed the carts he was employing, he was so more than-the-prime pleased to see me, it was like this strange function-reversal. He was higher-fiving me and hugging me and saying, “What you have developed is so remarkable! I take these with me everywhere I go!”
I didn’t even know what to say. Once more, this was the very first time I met Snoop. Ultimately I got myself collectively adequate to ask him about Bubba Kush, the strain I employed to provide to him the most.
Snoop has a song named “Kush” that he did with Dr. Dre exactly where he raps about “Bubba,” so I had to ask him, “Are you speaking about my Bubba?” And he stated, “Yeah! Precisely!”
So then I was, like, “Okay, I’m completed. I do not want to develop any longer pot!” I was so pleased being aware of I’d produced it into one particular of Snoop’s songs. So, that was a great very first practical experience with him. Of course, he was normally super entertaining to speak to and he’s a genuine fan of great solution. Snoop’s the finest. Like him!
This report was produced in partnership with PodTones. Comply with them on Instagram.