I recently had a chance to catch up with Jay Hawley, founder of Stormebud, a discreet cannabis storage product. Jay’s product is a high-quality “book” titled Chasing Calm, designed to store cannabis and related items in a way that is discreet and classy. Inside are compartments to separate up to four different strains of your medicine. Think of it as a grown-up version of the book you hollowed out to stash your various contraband as a teenager (or was that just me?).
Jay was unwinding recently at a Toronto bar on a Saturday evening after Zoomershow, a lifestyle expo geared toward the 45-plus crowd. Medical cannabis was among the many topics featured at this year’s show, largely because of its increasing acceptance politically and medically. I asked him if he was there to sell product or learn more about the industry.
He said he was there to drum up business for his unique product. Jay’s full story can be found on his website at www.stormebud.com, but I was specifically interested in how a highly-skilled cabinet maker and woodworker who comes from a long line of such craftspeople in southern Ontario got into the medicinal marijuana industry. He seemed honestly excited about his product, though in typical Canadian fashion his energy was mixed with equal parts humility and politeness.
CB: What prompted the switch from building cabinetry to making cannabis storage products?
JH: My family had been making cabinets in the southeast Ontario area since 1944. The area is known for its quality cabinetry, but like many other industries, it has been hit hard. Many companies have shut down. I wanted to do something else. I decided to build these since there wasn’t anything else like them around that I had seen.
CB: Did you research the market to see what was out there before coming up with your design? I know your website references saying goodbye to the days of keeping your supply in sandwich bags between your couch cushions.
JH: I did. There was nothing quite like it out there. My products are high-end and unlike anything else on the market. With my books, your medicine is protected from light and UV radiation. It is also odor-proof.
CB: Why did you choose basswood for your material?
JH: Basswood looks like paper. Much of the paper produced in the area is made of basswood, so the book has the color of paper. It is also one of the lightest hardwoods, and is sustainably sourced from what would otherwise be wasted material.
CB: What about the book cover and the lettering; how do you do that?
JH: They are actually done by a printer. I called around to find one that did quality bookbinding work. The cover material is high-quality vegan vinyl.
CB: Can I ask how much the product costs and where folks can order it or would you rather they find that out by looking on your website?
JH: The book is $200 Canadian, which right now is about $154 American. We ship to the US for $20 and in Canada for $12. For the moment, it is available from the website only, but we hope to be able to get it into multiple places. We just started promoting these this past September.
CB: Let’s get back to you and why you decided to switch gears and join the medical marijuana community. You are a patient yourself, correct?
JH: Yes, I use it to treat my anxiety and depression, also what is probably a case of undiagnosed ADD. I was a non-licensed user for about a year and a half and then when I decided to launch Stormebud, I got my medical cannabis card.
CB: So, you can attest to the effects of cannabis; is the difference night and day?
JH: Night and day. It’s all about education and making the effort to learn about the effects of different strains and their possible side effects. For me, the side effects are that I am happy more often, or at worse, there are no side effects. Medical cannabis did change me. I am much more empathetic than I ever was before. Getting into this business has allowed me to meet many other people who it has helped. I didn’t know before just how much medical cannabis could fix medical issues for so many people.