Pete Feurtado Jr., CEO of Big Pete’s Treats, has learned a lot over the last 10 years.

From preparing for adult-use cannabis legalization in California, to understanding how consumers prefer to manage dosages, Feurtado Jr., and his father, Big Pete, have experienced many ups and downs over the last decade.

Feurtado Jr. is set to speak at the inaugural Cannabis Products Exchange event, scheduled for July 30-31 in Denver. This interactive two-day conference is designed to inform and inspire the ideation, innovation, research and development, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and consumer safety of legal cannabis edibles and beverages.

Feurtado Jr. recently spoke to Cannabis Products about growing up in the cannabis industry, trends in dosing and creating strong relationships with other industry professionals.

CP: What is the history of Big Pete’s Treats?

PFJ: We are a true family business. My dad (Big Pete) and I started in 2009 as growers in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I was in my last year of college at the time and Big Pete enrolled at Oakserdamn University, where he relearned how to make cannabutter. For his class project he wrote a business plan for a cannabis wholesale bakery. From there we made it happen out of our home kitchen, tested the cookies on our friends and brought our products to the dispensaries in San Jose. 

The first batch was a little too strong, and we decided we wanted to make our products an enjoyable experience from the taste to the effects. There was no testing at the time, and our product line featured products with 2 and 4 doses. Over time we learned that a lot of people were eating too much and not having great experiences. 

Our business changed dramatically for the better when we launched our mini one-dose cookies in 6-packs and 10-packs. People like being able to dose one small cookie at a time and have more control over the effects in a responsible way.  

CP: What was it like growing up in the cannabis industry? 

PFJ: I am very lucky to grow up in the cannabis industry. I went straight from college to helping my dad run the business. I have learned so much about business in the last 10 years through the ups and downs of the industry. We have accomplished a lot, from starting in our home kitchen to making it through the hurdles of legalization, to becoming the top selling baked goods in California. We couldn’t have made it this far without a great team, great timing and a little bit of luck along the way. 

CP: What are some important aspects to consider when developing products for today’s medical cannabis consumers? 

PFJ: Precise consistent dosage and transparent ingredients. Many products don’t state what infusion process they use. We make everything with full-spectrum cannabutter, and we feel that is the most quality way to make edibles. 

CP: What are some of the top challenges in working in California’s legal cannabis industry?

PFJ: Over-regulation and taxation, no access to normal banking relationships and being gouged by “normal” vendors because you are in the cannabis industry are what come to mind first. An example of this would be our car insurance is four times the cost of normal commercial auto because we are a cannabis company. Your No. 1 focus has to be compliance and making quality products.  

CP: How has Big Pete’s Treats positioned itself for growth in today’s increasingly competitive cannabis food and beverage market? 

PFJ: We are very fortunate to have started 10 years ago and have gotten a head start. We were able to slowly grow over the first eight years and get prepared for the regulation and compliance that has come with legalization. It has been a lot of hard work, time on the road and giving away tons of free samples when that was allowed. We have invested in our brand, as we feel brands will be the winners in the end. 

CP: How can collaborating/networking with other cannabis industry professionals help improve product development? 

PFJ: It is important for us to have a close working relationship with our growers because we rely on them for quality trim to make our cannabutter. We also have close relationships with other cannabis brands, dispensaries and distributors to stay ahead of the curve and share insights as the industry continues to grow at a fast pace. 

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