The CEO of the Off The Charts dispensary chain, which has one location in San Francisco, has gone viral for the wrong reasons, in a video where he’s caught blustering to his colleagues he doesn’t pay “these f*cking mom and pops” vendors who supply his stores.
One of the dirty little secrets of the legal cannabis industry in California is that many dispensaries are in bad financial straits and way behind on paying their bills. Some marijuana growers and distributors (the groups legally licensed to transport weed from farms to dispensaries) have even started a “do not sell” list of retail dispensaries who are hundreds of thousands of dollars behind on their bills, according to the industry trade publication Marijuana Business Daily.
But the owner of the dispensary chain Off the Charts, which has 17 locations in California and one in SF at Bryant and Seventh streets, may have blacklisted himself. SFGate reports that the chain’s founder and CEO Norman Yousif was caught on a now-viral video bragging about not paying his vendors.
“You know how much money we’ve saved by not paying the vendors, because they’ve been out of business, or they never collected and they never lasted?,” Yousif says in a video posted to the Instagram account bigredsfarms. “I ain’t talking about the 30 stable brands that are here to play, I’m talking about these fucking mom and pops that come and go. We’ve saved hundreds and hundreds of thousands. I mean, if you don’t have to pay, you don’t have to pay.”
Several commenters on the post claim to be businesses shorted by Off The Charts (commonly abbreviated as OTC). It’s unclear where or when the video was taken, though SFGate reports Yousif is “actively pursuing legal action against the people who released the video.”
Needless to say, though, Yousif and the company at large are in damage control mode. According to the San Diego Cannabis Times, he posted an Instagram apology in the days following that post becoming public.
“I take personal accountability and apologize for the impact my words have had on members of the cannabis community. Regardless of context, the nature in which these words were spoken is inexcusable and does not reflect me personally or the OTC brand,” he reportedly posted. “Detractors have falsely characterized the 20 second video snippet of a nearly one-hour conversation to imply that OTC does not pay its vendors. However, the truth is that OTC always has and will continue to pay all of its vendors in the ordinary course of business.”
That said, we are taking the San Diego Cannabis Times’ word for it that Yousif posted said apology. That’s because since this whole dust-up, Yousif has made his Instagram account private.
Image: Brookie G. via Yelp