It’s not uncommon for Lex Corwin to be mistaken as a marketing manager or another type of employee for his California-based cannabis brand
By the age of 25 — when most of us are more concerned about where to go out on the weekend — Corwin had launched about eight business ventures.
It didn’t take long for the lure of opportunities in cannabis to come calling. Corwin first founded Stone Road in 2016 at the age of 23 when he purchased an off-the-grid farm in California, making him quite young to be leading such a sustainable and authentic cannabis brand. At that point, the state was still in the Proposition 215 era with medical cannabis only.
During that time, Corwin wasn’t satisfied with how cannabis was being marketed, often objectifying women in ads, and he saw the scarcity of upscale cannabis brands catering to high-end consumers. Stone Road, he hoped, could help solve some of these problems and become a leader in
This unique path in cannabis cultivation allowed him to find lasting success — proving his dedication to growing the plant with the utmost care and intention, and also demonstrating attributes that make the brand stand out in a sea of corporate cannabis giants.
We caught up with Corwin via telephone as he was driving to his farm for a full day of hands-on work. Let’s learn more about the man behind one of the most sustainable cannabis brands in California.
The Way to Stone Road
High There: When did you first find a passion for growing cannabis?
Lex Corwin: When I was 16, I grew up in New York City, but I went to a rural farm school in Vermont in a town called Vershire, population 600. And I learned the basics of organic farming, the basics on how to run a farm. And, you know, returning to my home in New York City that summer being like a huge pothead at that time already, I ordered seeds from Amsterdam and started growing cannabis on my neighbor’s property in Connecticut where my parents had a beach house, and my neighbor’s property was on Stone Road, hence the name.
HT: I remember when I first saw Stone Road and instantly fell in love with the packaging. Did you play a big part in the branding?
Corwin: Yeah, I mean, I play a big part in everything; I have one employee. [laughs] So, you know, I do a little bit of everything. But yeah, the packaging design team was led by my friend Santiago Carrasquilla who’s an amazing Colombian designer that I met doing music videos in New York, and then they brought in this amazing woman named Alex Stikeleather, who Alex had done the Leafs By Snoop packaging for their launch in Colorado. I don’t know if they’re still on the market, but basically it was the most beautiful cannabis packaging I had seen at the time. This was like 2016 or 2017.
And so, we enlisted Alex because she went to school for visual arts in New York with Santi. So I flew them out to the farm twice, they brought all these beautiful cameras and just took thousands of images of just the farm and the surrounding area. And then all those images became the basis for our initial kind of branding, marketing push, and also, all of our packaging. A lot of those images we still use today in our packaging, just in different kinds of iterations.
Lex Corwin on Nature’s Intent
HT: What are your core values when it comes to cultivation?
Corwin: Yeah, we try to grow cannabis, as we say, the way nature intended. There’s so many different ways to grow cannabis these days, and you know, you have the indoor method where you’re probably in the industrial part of town and on the wrong side of the tracks. And it’s not natural. It’s like a huge part of the industry now, but it’s just simply not how cannabis was meant to be grown and cultivated.
So you have that, and you have the emergence of these super-farms in Salinas Valley and Carpinteria. Where you have basically dozens of acres of hoop houses all growing generally the same weed, where like, yeah it’s good enough quality but there’s nothing unique about it. There’s no natural terroir or anything that you would be able to tell that it came from one farm versus another.
And then there’s us — we embody the old style of using the same soil year after year, making our own compost teas, being a non-spray farm. Instead, buying ladybugs and predator mites to take care of the natural pests and predators. So, for us, we grow it quite literally, we say “beyond organically,” and not just do we grow it organically because legally we have to [in order] to pass all the state testing, which is extremely stringent, but you know, growing in a way that is also very sustainable.
We’re on a 57-acre lot. We cultivate on less than an acre, leaving 99 percent of the property wild and untamed. So you know, we’re also preserving this land where if we were like a traditional ag operation, we would probably be growing somewhere around 10 to 20 percent of our total landmass, thus requiring us to cut down a shitload of trees and all that stuff.
If we were in cattle ranching, obviously we would be utilizing the entire property, and so with cannabis, it really is amazing because we can basically sustain and maintain this 57-acre property while only utilizing like less than one percent of it. So, you know, we’re entirely off-grid, entirely solar powered. All the water we use is from our own two deep water artesian wells. So, when we say we grow cannabis the way it’s meant to be grown, away from cars and prying eyes, we’re really doing that.
Pursuing a Passion
HT: What is your favorite part about being a CEO in the cannabis industry?
Corwin: My favorite part is also my least favorite part, and it’s that you get to do a little bit of everything from sales to production to actual cultivation work to working with PR, legal, accounting, just all these little separate teams to ultimately carry out our goals like a normal company.
HT: What is something about yourself (cannabis related or not) that you think would surprise people?
Corwin: I think something that would surprise a lot of people is that the company has basically two full time employees, me being one of them and then the other being my COO. And then something about me personally that would surprise people is that I was a college level tennis player.
HT: So, what would you say to others who want to join the cannabis industry as an entrepreneur?
Corwin: [laughs] Don’t launch in California? Yeah. I mean, honestly, my best advice is that, like, if you’re thinking you’re gonna make a quick buck, just stop and save yourself the grief and trauma, because it’s gonna be, you know… I’m on like year six and there’s really still no light at the end of the tunnel. [laughs] But, just be realistic with setting expectations, not launching in California, but focusing on one of these less competitive states is my great advice.
Wrapping Up with Lex Corwin of Stone Road
HT: Do you have a favorite strain, and also, are you a flower-only person or do you also consume concentrate?
Corwin: So, I love hash, so that’s pretty much the only concentrate that I use. Like I grew up in New York smoking spliffs. And then when I went to college, I was roommates with a guy from the UK who had a huge love of hash. And so we would buy, you know, lots of hash at the dispensaries. And so we would basically roll these like hash spliffs, and that’s pretty much what I would just smoke exclusively. Now I’m a little too busy to get like, absolutely zooted outta my mind on a hash spliff. Basically, yeah, I’m like exclusively flower. I’m exclusively joints.
Oh, and then, and favorite strain. There’s a strain that we grew the first two years when we were in like the quote-unquote “medical market.” And it’s a genetic I haven’t been able to find on the legal market, but it’s called Pacific Frost. And not only was it like super light green, the plant yielded, like incredible, but it’s stored amazing.
HT: Is there anything about the brand or about your products in particular that you would like to share with our readers?
Corwin: Yeah. I mean, a lot of people don’t know this, but it’s like, I personally look at, taste, smoke and inspect every single item that goes to market, where before we basically used a co-packing model, because I wasn’t able to secure my own license. And then, I was able to get my own license, get my own bank account, and bring products to market myself where we were basically able to switch back to what we grow, what we sell.
And if we do source it, we’re sourcing it from other small family-owned farms that are like local to us and also grow organically and just supporting like this small little ecosystem of craft growers.
To keep up with Stone Road, check out the company’s