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How One Cannabis Company Aims to Disrupt Big Pharma's Blockbuster Pipeline

In four short years, Kushy Punch has taken over the California edibles market. Now it has its sights set on the pharmaceutical industry, one bite at a time.
How One Cannabis Company Aims to Disrupt Big Pharma's Blockbuster Pipeline
Image credit: Kushy Punch
By Entrepreneur Partner Studio Staff

Ruben Cross is a man on a mission.

The buoyant 37-year-old founder of LA-based Kushy Punch isn’t your typical cannabis company CEO. He started his first company while in high school, then launched several social network platforms for the dating industry. His sites became wildly popular. Then he sold them. And then he started all over again.

“Kushy Punch was born out of my passion for cannabis. I have asthma and I cannot smoke weed...even though I do from time to time,” Cross jokes. “I am very conscious of what I am willing to eat or put into my body, like a lot of people are. All of the products in the edible space were high in calories and sugars—giant brownies or cookies. I wanted to create something that would taste great and deliver all of the goodness and medicinal value of the whole cannabis plant in a single bite size.”

The answer came to Cross and his team after 18 months of trial and error: cannabis-infused gummies. Originally made by hand, Cross scaled operations by developing a proprietary manufacturing process resulting in gummies that are never cured or sugar coated but remain moist in the packaging for greater potency and taste. He also differentiated his gummies by a commitment to only natural flavorings and the use of kosher-certified gelatin.

Today, Kushy Punch is arguably the leading edibles company in California, itself the world’s largest legal cannabis market. It expects to be in other states later this year, and eventually to grow alongside regulatory change to become a global brand.

“Ultimately we are selling wellness,” Cross says. “People are tired of taking pills; they need a new alternative. Who said medicating should be boring?”

Cross explains that the company receives unsolicited testimonials from customers weekly, many of whom describe reducing or eliminating their prescription medications for Kushy Punch products, which now include a line of CBD (non-psychoactive) gel caps and gummies.

“We are fortunate as an organization to develop products that help our customers through chronic pain management, without the deleterious addictive affects found in many prescription drug solutions,” he says.

Cross built Kushy Punch, and his team, with a few principles which any entrepreneur can utilize:

Hire the right person. “I’ve built my team with like-minded people that are inspired to take action to make the world a better place. We find people who have a passion for cannabis, for business, and for wellness.”

Find causes that your people and organization support. “We decided to give free or at cost CBD medication to low-income families that have children with disabilities. The stories we get back are rewarding. We share these testimonials with our team and we feel we are doing a greater good for society through our work. We are a company that is a catalyst for good, not just greed.”

Be relentless, keep your focus on what matters, and roll with the punches. “We try to improve every single day, and we grow with purpose. In this regulatory environment where change is constant, we have to be nimble.”

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