If you don’t know the name Dennis Hunter or Ned Fussell, you’ve likely seen their work.
As the co-founders of California cannabis manufacturer CannaCraft, the pair are responsible for some of the most popular brands in dispensaries across the state today. Prefer CBD? Perhaps you know Care By Design, which was the duo’s first official product line — as well as one of the first CBD lines to ever hit the market.
They’ve also earned shares of the edibles space with Satori Chocolates and tapped into the vape market with AbsoluteXtracts. If you’ve come across Lagunitas Brewing’s Hi-Fi Hops — an IPA-inspired sparkling water infused with THC and/or CBD — that’s a CannaCraft collaboration too.
With the industry still slogging through outdated policies and wildly shifting economic prospects, the company’s run of success is a bit of a rarity. Thus, it could be argued that it only makes sense for the pair to now be getting into the flower game as well.
However, despite Hunter and Fussell’s past triumphs, there is a different kind of energy at play when the subject turns to their latest release. Their flower line, Farmer and the Felon, is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the pair’s respective pasts.
It’s been over a decade since Hunter served a sentence of more than six years stemming from a 1998 raid on one of his Humboldt grow sites. While CannaCraft has subsequently become a big name in the field of cannabis manufacturing, it’s notable that Farmer & The Felon is the brand’s first flower release.
According to Hunter, the rise of the legal industry in some ways made his choice for him.
“Now that cannabis is legal in some capacity in nearly every state,” he tells Bloom & Oil, “it’s time to stop punishing people for the same activities that are fueling a legal cannabis industry worth over $20 billion.”
The Farmer & The Felon’s packaging makes Hunter’s position on the matter quite clear.
The visuals rely heavily on a color akin to the orange of an inmate’s jumpsuit, with barcode graphics to match. Beyond wanting to stand apart from an ever-growing onslaught of competitors, the bold design choices employed in Farmer and the Felon’s packaging also underscore the message at the heart of the brand.
In an email to Bloom & Oil, co-founder Duncan Fussell elaborates further.
“We created Farmer and the Felon as a way to use our personal experiences in the cannabis space and our products for the greater good of the entire community,” Fussell writes. “We hope that Farmer and the Felon’s message and cause will help change the future of legalization and decriminalization. That starts by reversing the lasting damage that the failed war on drugs has had on non-violent cannabis offenders.”
The Farmer & The Felon also serves as a chance for CannaCraft to support the Last Prisoner Project (LPP). The non-profit’s stated mission is to get every nonviolent cannabis prisoner released from incarceration. To help that cause, a percentage of the proceeds from each Farmer & The Felon sale will benefit LPP’s ongoing efforts.
This pairing is no coincidence, given Hunter’s position as a member of the LPP board. A formidable force, the board also features Steve DeAngelo, Damian Marley, and Melissa Etheridge and other industry heavyweights. At the heart of LPP’s mission: the 40,000 non-violent prisoners who remain incarcerated today.
Even as recent polls indicate that two-third of Americans favor cannabis legalization, there are still people in prison. The issue of mass incarceration goes hand-in-hand with the movement to legalize weed. As the onset of COVID-19 continues to spread and threaten vulnerable jails and prison populations, the LPP’s work has only taken on added urgency.
Naturally, Fussell and Hunter (a two-time High Times’ 100-Most Influential People in Cannabis recipient) are also quite proud of the flower being offered under the Farmer and the Felon name.
Boasting a variety of strains, the line-up currently includes Shark Shock, Mimosa, Lemongrass, Motorbreath, Vanilla Frosting and more. All are now available in various quantities (and, in some cases, as prerolls) throughout California.
In summarizing the mission of the Farmer and the Felon, Hunter says the idea is to get folks high but also to get them to take action.
“It is up to us,” Hunter explains, “the people participating in and benefitting from the legal market, to ensure all non-violent cannabis prisoners are released from incarceration and that all cannabis convictions are expunged. The Farmer and the Felon brand, in our partnership with the Last Prisoner Project, will continue working to bring attention to this injustice that still exists today.”