Prior to embarking on a career in cannabis, Sam Kornell wrote for this newspaper in the mid-2000s. Then, in 2007, the graduate of Open Alternative School, San Marcos High, and UC Santa Barbara started growing in Northern California for the medical-marijuana industry but saw dark days ahead. “I knew that, as soon as it’s legalized, weed would become an agricultural commodity, and I didn’t want to be in the commodity business,” said Kornell.
So three years ago, he founded Himalaya, a company that distills cannabis oil, which is consumed via vaporizer pens. “The fastest growing niche in the entire cannabis industry is vape cartridges,” said Kornell, crediting their push-button convenience, lack of smell, consistent dosage, and perceived health advantages over smoked cannabis, although he is quick to admit the jury is still out on that. He sells more than a dozen different strains and strengths for $35 a cartridge, which average 300 hits.
“All of our strains are from small-batch, organic growers in Northern California who have been doing it awhile,” said Kornell. “You know exactly what you’re consuming, which is basically impossible to do with real weed.”
Himalaya is now the best-selling cartridge in Sacramento and approaching that status in the Bay Area, with plans to scale up and tackle SoCal soon.