Jordan Lams is more than a pioneer of the cannabis industry—he is living proof that tragedy can be turned into triumph. After losing his sister to childhood leukemia, he developed PTSD, and spent years struggling with appetite loss and sleeplessness. Refusing to give up, Jordan set out on a mission to find effective healing methods for himself and for others. In 2007, he began researching the clinical studies and anecdotal evidence of marijuana efficacy when a friend recommended it for medicinal use. Upon receiving his doctor’s approval, Jordan began using the product to stimulate sleep and appetite, but he experienced an even greater result—a more sustainable state of well- being. He immediately devoted himself to raising awareness of marijuana’s medicinal benefits and to discovering more ways he could use the plant to help people. Once Jordan invested in the product, he learned more about the industry and ultimately became the first person to receive a cannabis business license from the state of California. He founded MOXIE—a Long Beach-based manufacturing, cultivation, and distribution company that has dispensed products throughout CA, MI, NV, AZ, and PA. As a recognized leader and brand name in cannabis concentrates, MOXIE has won more than 100 global cannabis awards and holds strong brand awareness in every legal market. The Top 100 Magazine recently met with Jordan to learn more about his journey in the cannabis industry and how MOXIE has evolved as a company.
You joined the cannabis industry at a time when little was known about the plant’s medicinal properties. What challenges did you face early on?
When I started over 14 years ago, I quickly discovered a lack of supply chain, counseling services, and palliative patient care for consumers at the point of purchase. Although several universities had conducted studies of the product’s benefits, it was still largely up to patient-communities to share information amongst themselves. People also had to trust what dispensaries had available, which affected access to consistent medicine. So, I ended up cultivating with another patient and friend and began working as a volunteer for an education-centric non-profit to learn more about how I could help address some of these issues within the industry.
How did you make the jump from cultivation to launching your own company?
I eventually began to receive opportunities from dispensaries and leveraged my knowledge of the plant into patient care and counseling. At first, I worked at dispensary counters in Los Angeles, and then worked my way up the ranks to managing, and, ultimately, to principal. Then, over the years, I started to get more involved in the manufacturing of complex products that required extraction, formulation, etc. I eventually stepped away from the retail side and devoted all of my energy to manufacturing, which led to the inception of MOXIE.
What sets MOXIE apart from other companies in the industry?
Moxie is unique because we pair the “know how” with the infrastructure—which comes together with the brand. We are also relentlessly passionate about cannabis and strive to set the bar for the industry. For example, we’ve never been willing to compromise on what is acceptable, and we’ve always vowed to be 100% transparent because it’s not worth bending the rules for monetary gain. We have never wavered on our commitment to create safe, high quality cannabis and our legacy in the market speaks to our efforts. Ultimately, our goal is to help people unlock their greatest potential, whether that be within their careers, personal health and wellness, or their communities.
How has MOXIE evolved since its inception seven years ago?
Getting to where we are today required a lot of interacting in complex environments, government work, licensing, and more. We started in the medical world in a single-state working with cooperatives of patients who cultivated and manufactured products for each other. I provided the intellectual property and equipment. Today, we are a manufacturing company at our core as we produce a vast assortment of high-quality products for both recreational and medicinal markets. We also operate in a number of states, and every operation is very different. Our products are sold under the brand name MOXIE, but our business is one-part manufacturing and one-part lifestyle. The word MOXIE means “force of nature.” This is how we see ourselves—as something that was once viewed as detrimental and was stigmatized, but through sheer acts of will and zealous commitment is now available to add immense value to people’s quality of life.
As CEO, how have you helped to ensure that MOXIE’s culture will continue to evolve along with the business?
One thing that has resonated with me is how essential it is to have a core ideology that outweighs monetary success. It’s also important to maintain alignment throughout the entire organization. I’ve learned that industry leaders have to be working toward something bigger than the economic element. Otherwise, the organization becomes an economic entity rather that a visionary one. When this happens, people pull in different directions, and a company can fall apart. However, when a company has everything in sync, it functions much more efficiently. There’s a lot of very compelling data to support this need to adhere to a core value set bigger than monetary gain. The laws are complex, every state is different when it comes to cannabis legislation, and we operate in a very politically polarizing space that impacts real people’s lives on a daily basis. Therefore, alignment of the value set throughout is critical.
Are you involved in any charitable works outside of MOXIE?
The inspiration behind my joining the cannabis industry was to find ways of helping people, so giving back to the community has always been important to me. Several years ago, I volunteered for a nonprofit called Marijuana Saves Lives, which assisted consumers in finding education about cannabis therapies that could help them get relief. We had an online resource center and we hosted events to educate people, and it ultimately evolved into larger, separate, organizations instead of remaining a single entity. Today, I focus on social justice. I am a founding director of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, and I sit on the economic development committee. Our mission is to provide a variety of mentorship opportunities within Hispanic communities. Since English is a second language for many of our staff members at MOXIE, the NHCC focuses a lot on creating resources in their native languages.
Jordan Lams Founder and CEO MOXIE