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This week, Christian Hageseth, chief operating officer of VIST Labs, discusses how a game of golf permanently changed the trajectory of his career.
In 2009, Hageseth was an out-of-work real estate finance professional who was a casualty of the economic crisis in 2008. He was invited to play a round of golf where he met an individual opening a dispensary in the up-and-coming Colorado cannabis industry.
Hageseth started in the cannabis industry in July 2009, about six weeks before business took off in Colorado following rules that opened up the medical market. He got a little lucky with the timing, but he had his first plant in the ground by September 2009, and he has been growing and selling legal weed ever since.
He has founded many companies in the industry — and even authored a book, Big Weed — but Hageseth's latest venture, VIST Labs, is his effort to clean up the cannabis industry's dirty secrets. Hageseth wants to deliver clean cannabis to the consumer with a process that makes the product much more shelf-stable. The tech means a safer product for consumers and a solution for cannabis cultivators sitting on a surplus — as well as those looking to market a more pure product.
VIST's patent-pending CryoPasteurization decontamination technology kills mold, yeast and bacteria while preserving terpene and cannabinoid levels.
The company also created AMAPS, an aseptic modified atmosphere packaging system that protects and extends product freshness.
VIST has a fleet of mobile labs that travel to facilities to provide microbial screening to identify the level of contaminants in flower or shake and treat the affected product.
When Hageseth got into the cannabis industry, he says it was made up of a bunch of cowboys, yahoos and crazies (he was a cowboy that was a little bit crazy), but as the business has evolved, his entrepreneurial spirit drove him to help make it a bit safer for consumers and businesses alike.
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