CEO Ryan Hunter shares how virtual dispensaries and toking NFTs are powering this very real new crypto-cannabis community.

As the CEO of a business with ties to both cannabis and cryptocurrency, Ryan Hunter is no stranger to fielding questions. When it comes to the most basic one — explaining, in a nutshell, what Crypto Cannabis Club is all about — he says he likes to describe it as “a social club for cannabis consumers with NFTs as the membership card.”

For those unclear on NFTs: the term is a shorthand for non-fungible token. This essentially means that NFTs are one-of-a-kind, unique items (usually art) which is sold online through marketplaces that accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment forms. Once purchased, an NFT exists in a user’s wallet (also digital) unless or until is put up for resale.

Buying NFTs in hopes they will eventually be worth astronomical sums is becoming a hot new habit, but in the case of Hunter’s business, it’s just one piece of a larger vision that extends across places both virtual and very real. From trips to Mexico to standing discounts on products from a dozen partner brands, the perks of owning an NFToker token are not limited to the digital sphere, though a robust Discord community ensures plenty of action on that front too.

Boasting a wealth of relevant experience in the tech sector and as well as a four-year stint as Chief Operating Officer for Willie Nelson’s cannabis brand, Hunter believes the cryptocannabis space represents a new, promising opportunity to unite stoners from around the world. Taking a break from his work on the blockchain, Hunter called American Marijuana to chat about all that’s happened since Crypto Cannabis Club hit the scene last year.

Crypto Cannabis Club CEO Ryan Hunter

Our vision is to provide experiences for our community members that encompass both virtual and real-world experiences. On the virtual side of the ledger, we have properties under development in two different metaverses. One is in a Metaverse called The Sandbox and one is in a Metaverse called Cryptovoxels. In Cryptovoxels, we have a virtual dispensary, which includes a lounge where our community can gather for events.

We have a very active Discord community with about 23,000 subscribers. We also have more than 40,000 followers on Twitter. Every Wednesday, we host a Twitter Spaces for our community. Sometimes those feature a celebrity guest like Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong or Ricky Williams. There’s a lot happening on the virtual side of the ledger, but also on the real-world side.

One of the things that I’m most excited about is that we’re starting to see members of our community forming their own, real-world chapters all over the country and in other countries around the world. Folks are starting to get together to hang out, vibe, and, obviously, to consume cannabis and just to be together. That’s pretty amazing.

We also host our own events. We had a meetup at MJBizCon in Las Vegas last October. We’ve had meetups at NFT.NYC and Art Basel. In March, we hosted a spring break trip for our club members to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, which was an amazing experience. We also have about two dozen partners, like Old Pal, Dr. Dabber, and Ricky Williams’ company, Heisman, and they provide our community members with discounts ranging from 10% to 30% off their products. We’ll be showcasing those partners in our virtual dispensary in Cryptovoxels too. We’re very excited about those relationships. We’re adding about one a week at this point, and partners are also starting to come to us to work with our community.

Lastly, we launched our own cannabis brand last month in California, in partnership with Camp Nova. They are a web-based, direct-to-consumer delivery service. We worked with them to review several different cannabis strains. Our community voted on their top three favorites, so that’s what we’re offering. We have Purple Granimals, Grapes and Cream, and Garlotti in eighth-ounce packages that retail for $50 each. However, if you own one of our NFTs, you get a 30% discount.

We’re going to reinvest the proceeds of that program as a means of steadily increasing the discount rate for our customers. We also have three golden tickets that are in those packages where someone can win one of our NFTs. We have a technology partner that we’re working with, so each package has an RFID tag on it. If someone purchases the product, they can scan the package, and then we’ll walk them through the pathway of getting a crypto wallet, and then they’ll be able to get an NFT of the packaging art that’s on the packaging. It’s a way for us to help cannabis consumers get to know NFTs and to introduce them to our community.

How do see your business playing into the current struggles many cannabis companies face when it comes to reaching consumers and building community?

Most of my background is in bringing new products to market. Usually, when you do that, you come up with the idea for the product and then you create a company and a brand around it. You set out to try to introduce it to people and to gather a following. What we’re doing is really turning that inside out: we have an amazing community and we’re listening to them and we’re providing them with the products and experiences that they want.

How does one become a member? How do you define the Crypto Cannabis Club community?

Great question. When I think about our community, I go beyond just the NFT owners. When I talk about our community, I’m including the subscribers that we have on Discord and Twitter. As for the membership card, when I think about the community in that context, 20% of our community is in California, though we are a global community. Even though that may be our largest state within the U.S., 40% of our community is living outside of the U.S. We’re definitely a global community.

In terms of what membership is and how one can be involved in the community, you can join our Discord. There’s no cost for that. To own one of our NFTs — our primary NFT collection is called NFTokers — you can find them on OpenSea, which is a marketplace for NFTs. Those are trading there from anywhere between $500 to tens of thousands of dollars. If you buy one of those, you get access to all these experiences as well as the discounts that we have with almost two dozen different partners plus discounts on our own products. If you want to unlock access to all of that, you’ll need to own our NFT but we include people in our community beyond the owners.

What's on the horizon for CCC? Where do you want to take this community?

As I said, one of our Metaverse properties is going to be launching next week. We also have another Metaverse property that we’ll be launching later this summer. We have a 7/10 event that we’re planning as well as a meetup at this summer’s NFT.NYC and we’ll have a full event calendar through the remainder of the year. On the event side, our goal is to start to do more global activities. On the product side, our goal is to bring our products into new markets. I’m having active conversations with folks outside of California about bringing the Crypto Cannabis Club cannabis brand to other states.

Tell me more about the global chapters of CCC that have sprung up since you launched.

As I said, we have active communities who produce their own events. We have a very active chapter in the Miami area that did their own 4/20 event. We’ve got a very active group in Indianapolis and they’re doing an Indy 500 event on Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be flying out there to join them for that but it’s something that they’re doing on their own. We’re just seeing more and more things like that happening. Globally, Brazil has a very active group. We had a few folks from there come and join us in Mexico. There’s also a group in Guam and another in in Australia. We have chapters forming all over the world.