CALIFORNIA: They traveled to California to stake a claim in an even more adventurous business: the burgeoning medical marijuana trade. “I was a step away from being homeless,” recalls Gonzalez, who lived on cheese sandwiches as he waited for his first cannabis harvest at the farm he was renting. “The pressure was intense. My wife gave birth a month before harvest. I don’t know how I didn’t have a heart attack. You hear all these stories that people would come and steal your crops.”
It seemed preposterous. Gonzalez had never grown anything, let alone handled large-scale farming. Yet he had done his homework. For the better part of a year, he made trips to California to learn how to grow cannabis and sell it to dispensaries. He joined a collective and learned how to cultivate, cure and trim the crop.
Despite the challenges, the first harvest of their fledgling company, G FarmaLabs, was a success and found buyers. So Gonzalez decided to expand output by planting at another farm, then another. Then, and only then, did he upgrade his bedroom furniture, preferring to put all earnings back into the company.
Five years after that first grow, Anaheim, Calif.-based G FarmaLabs is one of the leading companies in the cannabis space, with 40 employees including in-house scientists, and has an expanding array of some 50 products, ranging from vape pens to 20 flavors of infused chocolate edibles. Gonzalez has his sights set on a cannabis empire. His Liquid Gold Delights Mint Meltaways were named “Best Edible” at the 2014 Southern California Medical Cannabis Cup, and his Liquid Gold Chocolate Bars won the Kush Cup at the Kush medical marijuana expo in Anaheim. The chocolates are decorated and packaged in sophisticated designs that would rival those of any deluxe confectioner.