Marijuana meltdown

By Copy Editor

Ralph Morgan was always interested in medicine and business, two fields that have become the crux of his hectic life in Denver.

Morgan is the owner, founder and co-founder of multiple cannabis dispensaries and businesses, including Organa Labs, a company that makes alternative cannabis products such as sublingual cannabis tablets and organic cannabis honey oil. Morgan is also co-founder of the O.penVAPE product campaign, which markets a popular marijuana vaporizer pen that uses cannabis oil to both retailers and consumers. 

Morgan said Organa Labs grew by 1,200 percent in 2013 and is projected to grow by 600–800 percent in 2014. He added that retailers who carry the O.PenVAPE pen have accounted for 30 percent of the retail marijuana accessory market.

Morgan started his medical career as a hospital orderly before moving on to sell orthopedic implants for hips, knees and joints. 

“Six months before we started, I would have laughed at you if you said I was going to be in the cannabis industry,” Morgan said. “It was not a part of my life. I was just ignorant to it. I was completely blind to its medical potential.” 

Morgan said he and his wife, who also worked in health care, took notice of the media coverage of the burgeoning cannabis industry and decided to participate. Initially, it was difficult to get a financial leg up against the competition because equipment and licensing was expensive, he said.

However, things have changed now that Morgan operates multiple successful businesses in the industry. Some of his most popular products, including Organa Labs’ CannaTabs, have changed not only the lives of customers—they have changed Morgan too. 

Morgan said he, his wife, friends and family have all benefited from using Organa Labs’ CannaTabs—sugar-based sublingual cannabis tablets—which melt under the tongue and induce a moderate high that is unlikely to cause anxiety and can assist with sleep problems and offer pain relief.

Creating the tabs is something pharmaceutical companies said would be impossible. 

“I spoke with pharmaceutical companies,” Morgan said. “They said continuously, ‘You can’t achieve what you’re trying to achieve. You can’t take something that’s a liquid, which is our oil, with the viscosity that it has and successfully press it into a tablet form.’ They said it was impossible.”

But impossible is something that seems to have little weight in Morgan’s eyes. His early business ventures at Organa Labs were anything but easy.

Morgan said the first three years were difficult because obtaining a loan for an incipient marijuana business was nearly impossible, so he saved his money and borrowed funds from friends and family. 

“We were really hard to invest in at first,” Morgan said. “We were competing with guys that were extracting and making hash oil with $100 worth of equipment with some butane fuel from a head shop, and here we were trying to invest in equipment and accessories that were several hundred thousands of dollars. That took us right up to the edge of, ‘Hey if this isn’t successful, we’re living in a van.’”

But once profits begun to snowball and product management became easier thanks to the expensive machinery, things started to take a turn.

Todd Mitchem, chief revenue officer of O.penVAPE, said Morgan impressed him from the moment they met. 

“In that first meeting, he demonstrated a high level of partnership that was inspiring,” Mitchem said. “Now that I have worked with him consistently, I feel he is one of the most passionate leaders I know.”

Morgan said cannabis products such as CannaTabs and the O.penVAPE pen are his legacy. 

“Before, when I went to work, I was making a living,” Morgan said. “Now I’m realizing self-actualization. I feel like this is my legacy, that what I do makes a difference on the planet, to my neighbors in the community. That’s like the highest thing, right?”