Tiffany Chin, Intern to CEO, Takes Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis to The Next Level
Home BlogCannabisTiffany Chin, Intern to CEO, Takes Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis to The Next Level
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Tiffany Chin, Intern to CEO, Takes Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Cannabis to The Next Level

Tiffany Chinis is a name you should know and not forget in the cannabis industry. She is Death Row Cannabis’ CEO. Chin, who studied business at Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania, managed over $50 million in annual sales for Snoop’s previous cannabis company Leafs by Snoop (LBS). She also managed Doggy Style Records. Snoop Dogg wanted more ventures in cannabis, and to take Death Row Cannabis to the next level. He called Chin for help. High Times: Your career started in the grey market. How did you get started? Tiffany Chin: I was an intern at Snoop when I first started. As most interns, they clean and present things. Snoop would be at the office about every week to film his YouTube show, GGN. He would invite cool guests and smoke weed together. He didn’t use rolling trays. After he had used them, there was enough for me to take home and smoke it. I was paranoid or naive and didn’t want a [medical] card to be in the system. My coworker said to me that he knew a man who grows marijuana in the gray market and sells it by the pound to dispensaries. I think, “This guy is really cute.” I don’t have any makeup on, my hair’s not brushed, and my teeth aren’t brushed. I’m going to take your money. Two months later, he asked me, “Hey. Can we do this again?” We’ll do the exchange. Also, I don’t know if your memory of me is accurate, but I would love to take you out for a drink sometime.” Eleven years later, I am married. Congratulations. It’s a wonderful story. Thank you. He doesn’t grow weed anymore. He is now a botanist and biologist at TreePeople. That’s how I got into cannabis, and it was the first time I had a small grow. I learned about nutrient levels, PPMs, temperature, and humidity. I am not a grower but I do know enough to visit facilities. I’ve seen so many growers all over the world that I can say, “This is how it should be.” This looks right.” I can see the technologies they use and how they automate certain tasks. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Chin. Ted Chung, the CEO of the management firm, was hired by Snoop to be his manager. We had a whole machine and a team that did all these things for Snoop. It was legalization in Washington and Colorado at the time. We were asking ourselves, “What is our strategy?” Ted was looking at his employees and asked, “Who could fill this role?” Ted looked at his employee list and asked, “Who on our team could fill this role?” This is the right job. I was initially concerned that I might be pigeonholed in an industry that, while it may not have a future, I feel silly saying it now. This is a huge opportunity, right? You wouldn’t expect someone looking like me to represent Snoop on cannabis. That can confuse a lot of people. People don’t realize how much I know. You are not the right representative at this time. We can talk about business terms and deal terms, but I need to see your product is good.” What were your first successes when you first started working on the cannabis side of Snoop? I cold-emailed them. Mark Zekulin, the president at the time was like, “This can’t possibly be real.” They looked up the management company and he was like “Oh, maybe it’s real.” We’re in Ottawa. Are you interested in visiting us? I mean in the ground in a five-gallon container behind these screens and all. We both recognized each other as the real deal and that led to the larger deal we had in Canada from 2015 to 2017. We recognized that we were the real deal and made a larger deal for Canada in 2015. This was in addition to the great partnership with LivWell in Colorado. We launched a large range of edibles, concentrates, flowers and other products. This was for the old brand Leafs by Snoop. LivWell asked: “How can we create edibles that are true to Snoop?” He doesn’t like edibles, but everyone knows that. I asked him about his rider. I remember him touring and sending his rider out to promoters in different places. There were chocolate bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups and peach gummies. I said, “That’s exactly what we should do.” People feel like they’re in the exact same room as Snoop Dogg before he hits stage.” Snoop replied, “Let’s do it.” You can give me samples, but they don’t have to contain weed. I can also try them. You can put weed in them, and then I can give them to my friends.” It worked great because of the production process. We expanded into approximately 500 stores with these products. It was more difficult to grow flower because Snoop chose a low yield because he enjoyed the terpenes and the flavor of the smoke. It was a low yield so we couldn’t expand beyond LivWell’s 14 stores. I wanted to circle back. People often underestimate you, as you mentioned. Can you ever use this to your advantage in business? You cannot smoke. You must not smoke. I was criticized by him on International Women’s Day, out of all the possible days they could email me and act upset. I said, “There are other organizations that have confirmed our selection.” We chose the best group. I even spoke to Snoop about it. He said that it was business and not personal. This one group doesn’t have enough flowers for us. We need to choose a group with good flower and good business. They don’t give women the respect they deserve to show their abilities in this space. I’ve seen it and felt it myself. You only need to make sure the person is smart enough to pick up what you’re saying. You might need to make a whole loaf of bread for other people who aren’t as attentive to the vibes in a room. (Laughs) You have closed many lucrative deals in your career. It’s hard to stay cool under all that pressure. Anxiety is something I deal with, and I started therapy in June last year. That’s fantastic. Bravo! It is something I am open to discussing. Even if therapy is only once a year, I believe everyone should attend therapy. Because of anxiety about another person on Snoop’s team, who was trying to close these deals, I started therapy. Snoop wanted me to come back on to manage the cannabis and hemp initiatives. This other guy, I believe, felt threatened and tried inserting himself between Snoop’s and myself. I was anxious about bringing deals to Snoop’s table and making sure he saw that I was working hard for him. I was working from home because of the pandemic. There is a lot anxiety. But there is a lot trust between you. How can you protect his interests? I have asked him questions like “Hey, did this happen?” At the end, he is my client. I must protect his interests. Someone tried to get his IP owned differently from him. He did not own 100% of the entity. He owns the IP if the entity was 100% owned by him. It doesn’t matter if it’s a statement about the procedure or the name Snoop Dog, right? Calvin Broadus should have these things or at least a company that he holds 100%. He will never be subject to any contestation. Is he aware? He’s not responding to my questions about it. I’m grateful that you brought this up to me. He says, “I’m more than just paying you to do a task.” I need you to give me advice. I need your advice. It might take years, but eventually deregulation will occur when the industry or business is able to function on its own. There is a lot of regulation in the world right now, whether it’s packaging, licensing, or the ability to apply. I’m referring to felons. These people can’t apply for these kinds of things, right? They have been the most vilified by the policies of the ’70s and ’80s. I would like to see more deregulation in California. Many brands, operators, as well as retailers, are having a difficult time right now. Californians are not making any money. Many brands are “backdooring”, which is selling to homies in Ohio and New York, and then having them resold at any bodega or other location. This is how many brands stay afloat. You have to do what you gotta, but I know that UPS and FedEx recently cracked down on this practice. What’s more, the tax structure is changing. They are adjusting it now, thank you. Previously, the distributor had to pay taxes upon delivery, but the retailer didn’t have to until the product was sold. Incongruence in the timing of when taxes were collected and paid meant that processors and distributors couldn’t continue to operate on less than a 90 day float. So, if you are dependent on the money to continue your operations for three months, you will need to infuse cash, finance debt, or knock on doors to get funds. They are adjusting the percentage. Although I understand that taxes are necessary, I wish they were lower. It’s too expensive for people to buy good cannabis. I can now buy eighths for 70 dollars. I am not trying to promote our brand. Our products retail for $35-$45 for an eighth. You shouldn’t be paying more than 50 dollars for a high-quality product. Because Snoop is all about quality products at affordable prices, we want people to get great shit. He isn’t the guy who collaborates with Adidas and charges $350 per pair of shoes. He collaborates with Adidas and increases the price by $10. Do you have any favorite days at work? I will tell you what comes to my mind immediately. We were at Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner [Party]. Martha, who is from Vermont, flew to LA to be part of the show. She said, “I want some seeds back.” I like to garden and want to grow this in mine.” Nobody on Snoop’s management knows how to grow weed. I buy feminized seed, and I explain to Martha Stewart that these are seeds that have been proven to flower. She asks me “What does that mean?” Is it for farming? I ask her, “Do you have any experience in growing plants?” She is confused and says, “No, I went school for business.” I later learned that she was telling everyone about the Asian woman who was teaching her how to grow cannabis. It’s great to share knowledge with people who might not know as much about cannabis as you do. I don’t know everything so I’m always curious to hear from others who know more or have deeper knowledge. You started as an intern over 10 years ago. What are your goals for the next 10 years? What do you want to accomplish for Death Row Cannabis and for yourself? I love what I do, and I love working alongside Snoop. Snoop is just getting started. I’ll be honest. It worked really well when we tried it in the 2010s. We are now shifting to a more Snoop-centric, focused branding and line products. He smokes all of these strains and I can’t say the same for past products. Previously, as long as there’s one strain in there that he likes, that was good enough, right?Internationally, we’ve only got four countries. What number of UN member countries are there? 192? They’re not all legal (Laughs). Because Snoop is an international icon, I would love to one day get into as many countries possible. It’s the exact same with the United States. We are close to closing several states, and we are working with some the best growers/operators out there. I do believe that Death Row will be more than Snoop. There are many great engineers, mixers and A&R people working under the Death Row Records umbrella. I’m thinking of obvious names like Dre and Pac. We’ll be releasing new music soon. Although I’m not involved in the music, Frankie Vasquez, who is the most amazing A&R man, told me that there are two new artists on the horizon. There are many projects around Death Row Records. Many of these branch-offs like Death Row Cannabis or Death Row Vapes are just capitalizing on an incredible machine already. I believe that hip hop has taken a different path than it did before. It’s amazing how popular it is.


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