If you’re ever wondering where the rapper Rick Ross got his name from, look no further. Freeway Rick Ross might be the busiest man in show business, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The Los Angeles native is best known for establishing his own drug empire, making a couple million a day selling cocaine in the early to mid-1980’s. Now, he plans to make triple that in the cannabis industry.
A true hustler in every aspect of the word, Ross is the definition of an OG who turned his life for the better, even learning how to read and write while accepting his life sentence. Twenty years later, he was released in 2009 and has since become an author, entrepreneur, and cannabis activist all in one.
So what exactly is he doing in the cannabis space? Ross has multiple businesses, including his Freeway cannabis brand in partnership with The Cure Company, and his own concentrates and flower company called LA Kingpins. While he doesn’t smoke himself, Ross is a huge advocate for edibles, which actually helped him ease his nightmares and have a good night’s sleep.
PotGuide had the honor of speaking with Freeway Rick Ross in downtown Los Angeles, who arrived with gifts from both of his cannabis companies. Read below as we discuss his busy schedule, growing his own cannabis, starting his own companies, why he only does edibles, the new Delta 9, and more!
An Interview with Freeway Rick Ross
[Shirley Ju] How have you been since the last time we talked?
[Freeway Rick Ross] Whew, life has gotten really busy now.
[SJ] You’ve always been busy, so it’s extra busy now?
[FRR] Extra extra busy. This is probably the busiest I’ve been since I’ve been home. Boxing, I got 7 boxers signed. The movie’s financed. So much stuff going on with me right now. My marijuana spot, we’re getting that just about ready to start growing. The dispensary, getting ready to move into the dispensary.
[SJ] Is this grow specifically for your cannabis?
[FRR] Yeah, it’s my place. I own it. It’s the best bud, and it comes out of California. I’m working with one of the top guys, one of the top growers. I can’t even say who he is because his boss might get mad. He’s moonlighting.
[SJ] There’s a lot of cannabis bands out there. What sets yours apart from the rest?
[FRR] Eventually, I’ll have the best weed in California, and the cheapest weed in California. I’m going back to what made me who I am, and that was having great product at a great price, with great service. I’ve been giving great service. I still answer my phone every time it rings, that hasn’t changed.
[SJ] Don’t text, call!
[FRR] Don’t text me, call me. I don’t agree that I answer every text. [laughs] Even though I probably should because the person owed me that $10 million might hit me up through text. I might miss that one though. [laughs]
[SJ] You fell in love with weed after going to the Cannabis Cup. What was it that drew you in about cannabis?
[FRR] Wow. It’s a healthy business. One of the things now that I know, where I made my mistake at before, is that the product I had was a great product for getting money — but it was a terrible product for your customers. QUOTE BOX: I believe now that when you do business, you should not only have the product that’s good for what you’re trying to accomplish, but also good for your customers. It’s almost like cigarette companies: they’re selling the product that’s killing all their customers, so they have to continuously create new customers. With weed, you don’t have the same issue. It’s such a great situation when you have a great product that benefits the people. You know, I do edibles like crazy too.
[SJ] I was going to ask you! How was that first edible you had?
[FRR] Aw man, I can’t remember. I’ve done so many since then. I’m working on my edible line right now too.
[SJ] What are your favorites?
[FRR] My favorite is the lemon ginger. I love that because I don’t want the sugar. Product I’m working on now is sugar-free. I don’t want all the sugar and stuff because when you put all that sugar in, then you take out the health benefits. You gotta find a product that’s neutral all the way around: not just get you where you’re feeling right, but at the same time you’re gonna have diabetes.
I want to find these neutral grounds where everything is mellow. When you’re smoking weed, everything’s mellow. Love, live, have fun. That’s the way I want to do life.
[SJ] Edibles were helping you because you had nightmares, right?
[FRR] Yeah, I still have nightmares. When I do my edibles, I don’t have them. I get a great night’s sleep when I do the edibles. Sometimes a little groggy when I get up, but I don’t mind that feeling though. It’s just a loose feeling, you’re like Jell-O. [laughs] It’s a great feeling when you’re doing the edibles. For me, the edibles were better than even when I used to smoke weed, because I get more of that ah! With weed, you get a little mellow. I like to be that high where it’s boom! I’m working on my edibles line, I’m doing so much. I got to redo my t-shirts, everybody keeps asking me for my shirts.
[SJ] It says “the real Rick Ross is not a rapper”?
[FRR] I haven’t put out a t-shirt in 3 or 4 years. Now, everybody’s like “I want one of those t-shirts!”
[SJ] Talk about your Freeway cannabis brand, in partnership with Cure Company.
[FRR] I got a partnership with the Cure Company, I also have the LA Kingpin. Not moving the way I would like for it to move, but I’m going to pick it back up. I feel that all my brands within the next two to three months are going to skyrocket because my financial situation is getting better. You know when you get better financially, you can do more things for your brand. I’m going to start advertising more. I’m going to start getting some influencers to come on board and do some stuff for me. I’m in a good space right now, I’m really excited. I’m happy that things are coming the way they’re coming, I just want to keep coming.
[SJ] Let’s talk about LA Kingpin real quick. When I had you on my show, you were telling me about the vape pen.
[FRR] Yeah, we got flower now too. We got high-end flower, and we also have a sungrown flower as well. I got some things I’m working on, I won’t say right now because I want to wait until it comes to the market. Because what I found out, these people steal ideas. These people can’t think. It’s amazing that so many people are out here almost braindead when it comes down to coming up with ideas and being creative. You say something and the next thing you know, one of them’s doing it. Or if you do something, they do it. We started in the market. We had the cheapest vapes when we first started.
[SJ] How much were they for?
[FRR] They were selling in store for $15. Everybody started dropping their prices and dropping their prices. We’re working on some new stuff too, to counteract that cycle. [laughs]
[SJ] How involved are you in the process of picking the vape pens?
[FRR] I don’t pick them, I got a guy that I use for that. He’s been doing distribution for quite a while. I have my own distribution facility. I’m working on my own distribution facility, so we’ll be making our own product. We won’t be going to buy it from anybody else. We know that our product will be 100.
[SJ] All your flower is lab-tested. How do you take all the necessary steps to create the best experience?
[FRR] You try to find the best people that you can find that’s doing that particular job. At the end of the day, you can do all the research and all the testing that you can, then the consumer doesn’t like it. The end result is the consumer who’s going to be the ones who dictate what they like and what they don’t like. I try to stay open and try to keep my ears to the streets, hear what people are saying. We had got some flower, this guy was on the internet talking about the flower. I had to contact him and ask him what was wrong. I send him a rebate on his purchase. You gotta do that kind of stuff.
[SJ] What is the main difference between the indoor and the sungrown?
[FRR] You know the sungrown, the THC level doesn’t go as high as the indoor. Indoor sells for more. Right now, they can get the sungrown for $15 per eighth. The indoor, the eighths are $35.
With the weed economy being so flooded right now, the prices have been dropping all over the place.
[SJ] I interviewed B-Real the other day and asked him what he wanted to see change. He said for taxes to lower.
[FRR] Somebody contacted me and asked me if I would be the face of a new tax movement. [laughs] I got two calls that could be big. One, they’re talking about doing some type of combination with big pharmaceuticals. They want me to come and work on that. The other one was would I be interested in being the face of the tax movement to get the taxes lowered? I told both yes! [laughs]
[SJ] How does it feel to be getting these opportunities?
[FRR] I found out that I just keep creating opportunities. Opportunities are something that is plentiful to me. I get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. My goal now is that I have to start capitalizing on some of the great opportunities that I’m getting. I’m venturing into the music business. I’m getting ready to do some music with Dom Kennedy, that’s my man. We’re going to partner up and do some music. If there’s artists out there that want to get on… holler at ya boy.
[SJ] You had two boxers when we did our last interview. Now you got 7?
[FRR] Yes, and we’ll be fighting for a world title next year. Let me change that, because one of my boxers said “entertaining.” He said he’s an entertainer, not a fighter. Fighter sounds like a bad word. What he’s doing is he’s entertaining the people, and that’s how he looks at it. He’s not mad at anybody, he doesn’t hate him. He’s just having fun and entertaining the people, making sure they get what they pay for sure.
[SJ] At the height, you were making a couple of million a day. Do you feel you could do this with the cannabis industry?
[FRR] I can, more. I was a dummy when I did that.
[SJ] You didn’t even read back then!
[FRR] I hadn’t read a book. I read 300 books now. I read numerous newspapers. I’m definitely a much smarter person now than I was. I can see myself making $5, $10 million a day a day. It’s almost like now I’m starting to question the value of money. Is it really all that’s poppin’ to be? One of the things that I really cherish is the struggle, and I’m afraid right now. I may never get to struggle again.
Wow, what do you do once you have everything and you don’t need nothing? What’s next? Where do you go from there? I look at my two babies, they hitting the tennis ball like high school students already. They get 12 or 13 years old, they’ll probably get million dollar checks. People want to endorse them and whatnot, they may never get the struggle. The struggle is something that we all should go through. We should embrace it and enjoy it because it may come a time where you’ll never get to feel that feeling again. “I gotta get up this morning, I gotta work hard! I gotta grind.” I’m wondering if I’m going to lose that.
[SJ] No, I don’t think you will.
[FRR] Ehhh. Once you get so much money, do I need to struggle anymore? Well how can you really struggle? It’s not real anymore if you got everything. You may play like you’re struggling, but you’re really not struggling. That’s like people who have rich parents, they never were able to enjoy getting out in the street and grinding. To sell a book at the liquor store, sell t-shirts at the store to build themselves up, to be a made person. I’m a made person. I made myself. I did it with no help, but I did it under my own power for sure. I powered myself, propelled myself to get to this position. It’s crazy, something you think about.
[SJ] Can you talk about the new Delta 9?
[FRR] Oh yeah, we should be debuting at Champs in Vegas. Matter of fact, I got a text right when I was sitting outside. They said they want me to call them about Champs. The plan is, from what I understand, is we’re going to be in 33K stores. My goodness, that’s all over the country. It was good too. I sampled it. A little too much candy for me, but it was tasty.
[SJ] Thoughts on people being locked up for cannabis?
[FRR] We should reform all of our drug laws here in this country, especially cannabis. All of our marijuana laws should be revisited because we can’t incarcerate ourselves. You can’t have the wrong substance, it’s a war on people. I believe that the way that we deal with this is through love and respect. We should treat our drug users as if they’re our brothers and our sisters, which they really are. We all connected, this pandemic showed us that.
I believe that we should treat our drug users and our DNA as well as if they were our own brothers and sisters who were involved. Because these people, if it was their kids, you know the rich politician where their kids get caught with drugs. All this stuff, then drug rehab. But not everybody can afford to go to drug rehab. They throw the ones who can’t afford it in the prison. I don’t think it’s the same treatment, everybody should get the same treatment. The rehabilitation will outdo incarceration.
[SJ] Where do you see the future of cannabis?
[FRR] It looks like the price is going to go way down right. I’m working with some people now that they got a new pre-roll machine. It’s going to revolutionize pre-rolls. They put the kief and flower exactly where you want it, and it don’t run. The pre-rolls don’t run. I can see weed getting really cheap man, where people can get a joint for $0.50 or a dollar.
[SJ] How can people make money off $0.50 per pre-roll?
[FRR] It shouldn’t be all about making money anyway, and that’s the problem with drugs. I don’t look at weed as a drug. When you put these inflated penalties on drugs in general, when you put these inflated prices, that encourages people who normally wouldn’t get involved — that needs some money to get involved. It’s going to get very cheap though. That’s a good thing for the customers, for the people. They shouldn’t be paying inflated prices to smoke a plant, stop it. Let’s give them the best price we can give them and the best product we can give them.