A vape pen from Denver-based company OpenVape (Photo via OpenVape)

O.penVape’s huge gains match ambitions

Ask O.penVape chief revenue officer Todd Mitchem about the national cannabis scene and he says, “The whole thing is falling like dominoes.”

Mitchem is specifically referring to states’ laws allowing THC concentrates such as oil, shatter and wax – which directly influences O.penVape’s oil-based pen vaporizer being sold in a particular state. But he’s not exaggerating.

“We went from three states that had (concentrate) licenses — Colorado, California and Washington — and now Massachusetts, Oregon and Arizona are pushing to get their licenses. And then there’s Nevada. And …”

In the same way that O.penVape is doing blockbuster business with its popular and convenient vape pens, Mitchem is a busy dude. Just look at his Twitter feed. He’s unafraid of any and all marijuana conversations — in fact he encourages them with colleagues and strangers alike.

O.penVape just announced its sponsorship of the Denver County Fair, and he’s all but promised to walk the halls of the National Western Complex to engage folks and answer their questions about marijuana. He even asked me to include his email address here so he could personally answer anyone’s questions regarding his company’s vape pens, the laws surrounding them and anything else they’re curious about. So, yeah: todd@openvape.com.

We caught up with Mitchem to talk about O.penVape, one of the largest cannabis companies in Colorado, the company’s 800-1,600 percent growth over the last few years and their hopes for the Canadian marketplace.

Cannabist: So we talked earlier about O.penVape’s sponsorship of the Denver County Fair. Right now you guys and 4-H are the only major sponsors …

Mitchem: — yes, but hopefully they’ll get a few more big sponsors. I’d love to see a bank in there as a major sponsor. That’d be a fun discussion to have — banking and Colorado marijuana — us and them.

Cannabist: So your pens are currently available in Colorado, Washington and California.

Mitchem: Yes, and the Denver County Fair people, they’ve been approached by people who run county fairs throughout California. These people are curious about how they’re bringing medical and recreational cannabis into the county fair system. And I loved hearing that news. Maybe we’ll be sponsoring other county fairs — in California and beyond.

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Cannabist: And you’re into that because of the collision of a county fair’s mainstream Americana and the increasingly accepted but still somewhat-taboo image of marijuana?

Mitchem: We’re into anything that educates people on cannabis and changes the stereotypes.

Cannabist: So your vaporizing pen is built on convenience. Users screw the oil cartridge into the pen, which charges via USB ports, and it’s ready to go. But what about those who prefer to vape with wax or shatter or green?

Mitchem: It’s about preference. Wax pens aren’t awful if that’s your preference. We all have preferences. Many of our consumers also use pens that use wax. As consumers, we have many different ways of consuming but vape pens are the most convenient option. There are times you don’t want to dab in a pen. Other times you want the ritual and experience of the flower. It depends on the consumer’s need at the time. Demographically we’re now seeing parents and soccer moms and people in their 40s change. We’re seeing the consumer change with the arrival of recreational. (O.penVape is) convenient and not messy, and they use it at their house and their kids don’t have to smell smoke.

Cannabist: You all are getting ready to release a secondary vape pen that will use wax and other extracts? The Go.pen is on your website’s landing page, but when will be it available for consumers?

Mitchem: Soon.

Cannabist: So how’s business at O.penVape?

Mitchem: Our leadership team just went to a retreat last week for our company, and we ran the numbers and realized that in three states we sell three cartridges a minutes. That’s more than one every 30 seconds, during business hours. That’s an amazing achievement with any company, let alone one that works only with cannabis. By the end of the 2014 we estimate we’ll be in five to seven states.

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Cannabist: What kind of growth was that?

Mitchem: We grew 1,600 percent last year (from 2012-2013), all medical. We’re on target to do another 800 percent growth this year (from 2013-2014), and that’s not factoring recreational sales. We’ll be able to predict recreational sales better in the second quarter.

Cannabist: And you’re happy with that growth.

Mitchem: Absolutely. And when we go from three states to five to seven to 15 — the ceiling is limitless. Then there’s Canada — they’re voting in April to allow to concentrates. That could be huge.

Read the rest of the O.penVape interview.