[00:00:00] This is happy munkey. This is happy munkey. This is happy munkey, this is happy munkey!
Ramon Reyes [00:00:26] All right, welcome to the first very first recording of Happy Munkey Podcast show. I am Ramon, co-founder and creator of Happy Munkey. My boy here.
Vladimir Bautista [00:00:42] Vladimir Bautista co-founder and CFO of Happy Monkey. And we're going to give you guys a glimpse. So what goes on behind the scenes with the minds behind Happy Munkey,.
Ramon Reyes [00:00:53] Basically. So basically Happy Munkey. We are we consider ourselves basically 420 eyes and ears of the East Coast. So as far as the cannabis industry is gone. Well, quote unquote cannabis industry, because now as an industry. What do you think about this new. I guess is new. But, you know, this new Legit thing that we call cannabis industry.
Vladimir Bautista [00:01:19] Yeah, because we were in it before as an industry, but now they commercialized it and.
Ramon Reyes [00:01:24] Right. Right. Right.
Vladimir Bautista [00:01:26] It's You know, gone mainstream. So now they just change the terms. But it's the same thing. It's just different names and different titles. But that's part of what we're going to explain to people about how it's always been this and it's always been a culture and it's always been an industry, too, now.
Ramon Reyes [00:01:45] Right. Right.
Vladimir Bautista [00:01:45] And they just made it mainstream and now everybody feels it's okay to come out of the closet. .
Ramon Reyes [00:01:51] All right. So the other day you told me some shit. You told me some shit. What would you compare this new industry to? You told me that something to where we first discover America. Tell me that shit. I mean, tell us.
Vladimir Bautista [00:02:01] What it is. Is there. I've had to, like, explain to people. I have meetings with other people that we work with, like they don't understand what's going on in the industry because there's not really any money and it's not really you know, it's not really an established, stable industry. You hear projections and valuations and yada, yada. Nobody understands it. But I have an analogy that I feel like makes sense what's going on right now for everybody to understand in layman's terms, it's basically like when, you know, the Europeans, Sent Christopher Columbus and all those guys they let out of jail. To come on, this invisible mission that nobody knew was going to happen. And then they found the new found land, which was the United States. And then at the beginning, the Dutch came, had new found land. The British had Virginia, yada, yada. Whatever the beginning, there was no money and it was just everybody carving out their territories and basically carving out their niches. And whoever had that down the line made tons of money. So that's what's going on in the cannabis industry that the rules unsettled, the territory isn't settled yet, The niches aren't settled yet. So for somebody looking from the outside in it makes absolutely no sense.
Ramon Reyes [00:03:17] Right. So what's happening is that basically everybody that's coming into this industry, they're carving the territory, and they bring in whatever their they were good at before and to this new thing, you know, to me. So if you a good grower before now you're a good grower at cannabis, right? Basically. So if he was a retailer, pretty much if he was selling on the Block and you know, I mean, now you're in now. Now you're a retailer. Now you've got a dispensary. You know that. So basically, that's basically what it is everybody.
Vladimir Bautista [00:03:48] Now we've got to go in to so people understand how we were able to pivot into it. Like, I'm gonna give you an example like me, Vladimír Bautista I was raised on one 139th and Broadway that I'm born and raised that by the way, FYI me and Ramon went to high school together In GDubz a lot of people don't know that.
Ramon Reyes [00:04:12] Shoutouts to GDubz!
Vladimir Bautista [00:04:13] And then I'm so what happened was my I'll give you my first experience with cannabis. I mean we grew up, you know, in a different time, when the youth used to do things differently,.
Ramon Reyes [00:04:23] Absolutely it's the 90's guys.
Vladimir Bautista [00:04:24] And then, um, you know, we grew up in a drug infested area, and the only one that was okay there were you wouldn't be looked down upon was weed. I mean, it was the only cool thing to do that you could actually be cool with your friends. So I. My first time smoking weed, I remember I was with my friend Al. I went to cut school at his house and they were smoking. And now, I mean, I was like, let me see what this.
Ramon Reyes [00:04:47] How old were you?
Vladimir Bautista [00:04:47] I was by like twelve years old.
Ramon Reyes [00:04:49] Look at that.
Vladimir Bautista [00:04:50] Twelve years old. So that was my first experience. And I got so high I was like, I don't know how I'm gonna go home. I felt like,.
Ramon Reyes [00:05:00] What types of weed was it?
Vladimir Bautista [00:05:02] Back then, that was J and L. There was a there was a there was like this spot like on 148th and Broadway they used to sell Nicks the limo bags,.
Ramon Reyes [00:05:13] The Nicks!
Vladimir Bautista [00:05:13] The limo bag that and used well like two joints out of a nick that were smoking like, that shit was like you was smoking like fuckin like Billy Kimber right now.
Ramon Reyes [00:05:24] Back in back in like what 90....
Vladimir Bautista [00:05:26] That was probably like 95, 96.
Ramon Reyes [00:05:28] So I pretty much give you mine. Right. So I'm pretty much you know, again, I'm Ramon, pretty much like 20 blocks away from him. I'm come from a 157th street. I grew up on 156th in the same neighborhood, same situation. Dominican background. Dominicans by the way at that time is it's kind of different because the old school people looked at weed like a real big stigma, but the New School, the the people a little bit older than you and I, you know, they all look that weed like. It was not bad because, you know, like you said, was a drug infested neighborhood. There was a lot of crack coke dope that we was like, whatever, you know what I'm saying? But. Still to the old school people, you know, he was frowned upon. Right. So my first time, smoking weed was with my boys 156 shoutouts to my day 1s an all that shit we smoked. From the Jamaicans at that point, the only way you can get was from the Jamaicans, there was no real, like exotic hydro, no Haze, no Sour. None of that shit. It was just whenever the Jamaicans had so it was either some Harrarca is what Dominicans, we call us some harraca, some dirt weed or some chocolate, Chocolate Tie back then you remember Chocolate Tie.
Vladimir Bautista [00:06:41] Yeah!
Ramon Reyes [00:06:42] Come on baby, You know, the Jamaicans had the Chocolate Tie.
Vladimir Bautista [00:06:44] They really were the first real.
Ramon Reyes [00:06:47] Let's been a real Shoutouts to the Jamaicans, Wagwan, Wagwan!
Vladimir Bautista [00:06:51] The Jamaicans were the first one to take as a career and have it like their bread and butter, and every big spot was owned by Jamaicans. Every nationality went to them. Mostly everybody I ever spoke to, during that era.
Ramon Reyes [00:07:06] Shoutouts to my Jamaicans brother, brother, we used to have to go down to the basement and cop. At that time. I haven't really smoked yet. So I said, go cop for the other older dudes on the block. So they used to send me up the block to the Jamaican spot I used to go downstairs to the basement. They had the little pool hall, All that shit! Yo!! Such and such sent me they already knew because they knew I was from down the block and they knew I wasn't smoking yet they knew it was the older niggas, you know what I mean, go get the weed from them. But that time, you know, we experiment and we smoked weed now. So I went with the weed for us. I walk down a block. We slept over my friend's house. I tried weed before, but I didn't get it. But that day we got high, so we went to my friend's house. We slept over. Had like two nicks of chocolate. And it was like six of us. And we all got high. And this shit was crazy. It was the first my first real experience with weed the first time I really got high. First time I got the giggles First time I got the munchies.
Vladimir Bautista [00:08:00] What were you smoking in back then, What was it? Phillies or Dutches? Because that's what it was about, Garcia Vega and shit like that.
Ramon Reyes [00:08:07] At that moment we smoked in joint paper. But right after that it was. I was the White Owls and then it was the Phillie era. And then the Titan era you know, the Phillie titan because the titan's were longer , you know what I mean, so then that's me.
Vladimir Bautista [00:08:21] My experience back then. It was it was either Phillies, Garcia Vega's, or White Owls. It wasn't even Dutches yet.
Ramon Reyes [00:08:29] It wasn't Dutches wasn't Dutches wasn't there yet.
Vladimir Bautista [00:08:32] Because I don't know, the paper back then was like different. I remember you had to be like, you know, I mean, like the older, more polished, smoker. Like they used to smoke the Garcia Vegas and stuff like that. Everybody else was just smoking Phillies or White Owls.
Ramon Reyes [00:08:44] Exactly. Well. For a lot of people that don't understand. We smoke a lot in these cigars, well I know me and my crew did because it is wintertime. You don't really get to smoke in your house. We would like only 12, 13 years old. So it was very rare that you got somebody's apartment or something like that. So either you smoke in the basement or smoking in the building, smoking in the roof or smoking in the park. You're Smoking it's cold Niggas it's winter more than more than half the year. I'll give a fuck what 4 seasons We got in New York.
Vladimir Bautista [00:09:13] Lets not front here now like everybody else does front. We was put in both papers on that thing because we was broke and we was trying to make it stretch out as long as possible after we went on a mission for 20 blocks to get this Nickel bag. We was not tryna let that thing burn fast.
Ramon Reyes [00:09:27] You chase the fire at that point, that's it!
Vladimir Bautista [00:09:29] What about those missions that we people don't know that we used to have to go on pre Internet to find that wherever. Like with the word of mouth, you will find out what the best spot was, Elliot, The Jamaican spot, 150 "the Bon", this that whatever through word of mouth and you would travel like a fucking expedition.
Ramon Reyes [00:09:47] Anywhere Anywhere Anywhere.
Vladimir Bautista [00:09:51] Winter, rain, sleet, or snow.
Ramon Reyes [00:09:53] Anywhere I used to drive anywhere. To the block then once, once the hydro haze Era came we drove anywhere. This is, like you said, pre Internet, pre social media. This is got to be like, yo, you heard yo You heard they got the fire. That's it!
Vladimir Bautista [00:10:08] And sometimes in some way somehow. Everybody always heard from every part of New York. Everybody knew where the fire was without any Internet, without nothing, the word of mouth was strong back then.
Ramon Reyes [00:10:21] Word of mouth was everything. And it's still something. Look, even your man man, Gary V say that shit, bro. Everybody, yo, the power of the word of mouth is ridiculous. At that point at that point. Like you said, if niggas got that fire, yo, the ballers come out, celebrities used to come out because I know. You remember and you seen that on the block.
Vladimir Bautista [00:10:42] Look at Branson!
Ramon Reyes [00:10:43] Bro. Bro, back in the 90s, it even even after the Branson era that's it when it was us our era we teenagers we sixteen, seventeen. You know, Rough Rider era, you know, Roccafella all that crazy we seen all these niggas fill up the blocks let's be real. You know me shout out to all them niggas. Let's be real ya niggas Talk about it on your songs all the time. These niggas used to flood the block, come to the blocks and cop. So you only know that the word of mouth. You only know that through your homie, through your entourage, through your security. Somebody in your answer has told you, yo, this block got fire.
Vladimir Bautista [00:11:12] No matter how dangerous it was you're going to that block, no matter what happened to you or what happened to you, how rough and rugged it is, because unlike now, even in the last ten years prior to that, it was like one spot, like every 30, 40 blocks that everybody had to go to. There wasn't that many options.
Ramon Reyes [00:11:34] Hell no! Hell No. Especially the Haze Era. The Haze Era was basically. Uptown Washington Heights.
Vladimir Bautista [00:11:44] How was your first experiences when you first started hearing about Haze?
[00:11:48] Well. When I heard it, well, I got I had the luxury of being on the block that when Hazes got into Uptown you know I was. When he got kind of like mainstream, I was already there. So in like maybe like 95, 96. We already had Hydro Haze in my hood. So once the Hydro Haze era came that she came.
[00:12:08] You know what is crazy that I before found Haze, the closest thing I found before it was a restaurant and 140 called El Mambi. And they used to be these chicks. Right. And they had the twenty dollar bottles of Hydro. That was my first experience with higher end weed. They had the hydro. Nobody back. Nobody down there was thinking about weed and they were the only ones. They had the bottles. They used to be like a group of big Dominican girls. And they had they purses filled with these bottles like they were AK 47 Clips.
[00:12:39] Crazy. That's crazy, because that's it. Once that wave hit that shit was crazy, that shit was like a high end and then what? And I guarantee you, there's nobody at the time for a lot of years, nobody understood why we all loved Haze is right. So it was a sativa weed because nobody. We all just kept smoking it a thousand times. Nobody knew you just kept on smoking, smoking, smoking and kept on throughout your day because everybody was Kepping it moving it's New York. Nobody kind of like sat back and slept all day on the couch, you know, to me, like, I ain't Never do that. Like, I went to high school high and that was productive as hell.
Vladimir Bautista [00:13:11] My first time going to get Haze with the older guys from my block was 163. I used to have to go to 163rd.
Ramon Reyes [00:13:21] Those are my niggas.
Vladimir Bautista [00:13:21] And and I used to go over there. And that was my first experience, like, go on, get in the car with the older with the guy's going to smoke the high end. And I thought I was so cool!
Ramon Reyes [00:13:30] The Highway rides! The Highway rides! That's It!
Vladimir Bautista [00:13:32] That was like the ultimate luxury version of the smoker in New York, like you said, for when we were broke it was the staircase. The roof top the basement. And maybe somebody's crib. But then aside from that, the most luxurious way to smoke was in a car, riding around mahattan.
Ramon Reyes [00:13:47] Absolutely my brother. The the ride around the world rides.
Vladimir Bautista [00:13:51] You mean, you know where we come from. Everybody's doesn't have a car. So like, you know, only the elite from the area has a car. So that was a big thing , oh, are you coming on smoke ride was like a big deal.
Ramon Reyes [00:14:03] Aight so the Smoke Ride guys, ladies and gentlemen, it consists that it is two different highways, is either you going down the West Side coming up, the FDR or either or or you go up to 87 and come down. It's a smoke ride baby. And you lucky to get that as especially in the 90s. That shit was crazy, Niggas used to smoke out the cabs.
Vladimir Bautista [00:14:20] You used to test how good someone rolled was, like , yo, how far along the ride going around Manhattan did the blunt last and all that.
Ramon Reyes [00:14:28] Crazy B motherfuckers. The smoke rides. Then shit started to change. The millenium, then, you know, Giuliani got strict then, you know, that's the stop & Frisk.
Vladimir Bautista [00:14:41] Do you remember that at one point? It was just either Haze, Hydro or regular weed, Arizona.
Ramon Reyes [00:14:48] That was it.
Vladimir Bautista [00:14:49] There was no options.
Ramon Reyes [00:14:50] There was no options. You didn't get no California weed, none of that shit was happening yet.
Vladimir Bautista [00:14:53] Then Sour came along probably like in 2010, 2011. In dribs and drabs.
Ramon Reyes [00:15:01] Yeah That's right. Yeah, that's what they. Hey, big. Yeah.
Vladimir Bautista [00:15:04] Dribs & Drabs. And then that became the first one that became the first weed from California to penetrate the New York market. I believe for the East Coast that became mainstream.
Ramon Reyes [00:15:14] And then O.G. Kush but Sour was the really big thing because everybody talked about the loud, the loud, the loud the loud but Sour is the first one yeah. And it's crazy because, you know, in New York, it's so big because you open up a dime bag and this shit lit up the whole room. You didn't even have to smoke it yet . And I mean, so that's why I was such a big deal. And this is a sativa in New York and people like to stunt. And that was you know, that was the weed, the stunt on.
Vladimir Bautista [00:15:38] I remember that paid up to like fifty dollars when it first came out for like 1.8g for like half a an 1/8th was fifty dollars, if you can get it.
Ramon Reyes [00:15:47] How about the bag of haze When I first came out?
Vladimir Bautista [00:15:50] It was .3 or .4, which is less than half a gram for ten dollars and that shit used to get five dudes high.
Ramon Reyes [00:16:02] That's always what I'm saying. And we smoked it in a fucking White Owl or some bullshit like that, so it can last. So everybody get at least two tries or some shit like that and it hit better than the regular week because compared to us. All we had was regular weed before that. Right. So that's shit hard. You know what I mean.
Vladimir Bautista [00:16:16] No no that shit hit super hard.
Ramon Reyes [00:16:18] Crazy.
Vladimir Bautista [00:16:19] That shit hit super hard and then then after that then after 163rd I used to have to go to Dyckman. Dyckman Became the epicenter of the Haze, Academy, Post, Vamillian, etc.. So that became like the hub for that. And you will go up there and find whatever block up there had the best Haze.
Ramon Reyes [00:16:40] Absolutely.
Vladimir Bautista [00:16:40] Because it was always one of them. At one point they had the best Haze. Arden you know what I mean, it was one of them up there. They had it like, yeah, it was on a more consistent basis,.
Ramon Reyes [00:16:49] All on them blocks up there man. Que Post, that shit traveled uptown and we had it for a while. Like for a very long time it was an uptown epidemic. But you had to come uptown.
Vladimir Bautista [00:17:02] Home of the Haze.
Ramon Reyes [00:17:03] Home of the Haze.
Vladimir Bautista [00:17:07] You had to come uptown. It got to the point where I back then, if I'm not mistaken, you couldn't buy wholesale. People would come from Jersey, Connecticut, buy 50 dimes and a hundred dimes and resell them.
Ramon Reyes [00:17:19] Yes.
Vladimir Bautista [00:17:20] Because it was really like a monopoly. Like you could only get this from this area.
Ramon Reyes [00:17:24] Exactly. Exactly. I remember that little era man. So it was basically from 135th and Broadway up to like Dyckman that said that was the zone right there. You what I'm saying that's the only place you can get Haze for what, I can't even like, yo that was a strong, strong era right there. Boy home of the haze.
Vladimir Bautista [00:17:44] When would you say that all the flavors shit started hitting hard meaning like the kushes and all this other stuff that was more recently, I would say it really became more like, New Yorkers opened up all the flavors probably like in the last five years.
Ramon Reyes [00:18:01] I agree.
Vladimir Bautista [00:18:04] Because people weren't really receptive to it, like, I mean, like you would see it. But yeah, it was a mainstream till like,.
Ramon Reyes [00:18:10] No, no, no. It didn't become Mainstream. And then really it was something that the youth came in. The youth loved all the packaging and like the new stuff, you know, fuckin gelatos, and the fuckin, what was the fucking what was the Jungle Boys shit That hit hard at one time. That strain it was just a strain. It wasn't like it was, but it was like a Jungle Boys Hit.
Vladimir Bautista [00:18:35] Even that. Like nobody even know the names and nothing before it was just the names of the weed. That's all. I would say that's probably like in the last three years that people actually know branding and all that stuff.
Ramon Reyes [00:18:46] Yeah, that was a West Coast thing. New York people didn't really. The brand thing as far as strain and shit like that wasn't a thing yet. It wasn't a thing. Normally you have brands. People just had knew the names of weed and certain people, you know, went to California and shit like that but not too many people. But now 2019. Brands everywhere. Who don't want to brand anybody a brand. I got a strain, I got a brand it's just popping up You know, it's easy to just come up with a name.
Vladimir Bautista [00:19:19] Before you had to actually people didn't care about names. It was all about how high it got you. And that was what people were going by.
Ramon Reyes [00:19:27] That's it if you got the fire. Do you have the fire? That's what counts. Like everybody say, fire! Fire.
Vladimir Bautista [00:19:33] So let's talk about how we came up with this whole Happy Munkey thing. Tell them about your trip to Amsterdam and how this really changed the narrative and your perspective on the cannabis lifestyle and industry.
Ramon Reyes [00:19:48] Right. So I obviously, you know me and you know, we know each other for a long time. We got a long history. You know, we didn't really start. Building a real friendship to like let's say this, I will say the last six years, seven years. That's what we're really, you know. So I was last, I'll say, in the last three last three years ago. I went to Amsterdam, I took a Eurotrip and we ended up in Amsterdam for a couple of days and I walked around a little bit and I jumped into some cafes like a stoner person should do it's Amsterdam. So I walked into a Cafe, it was called Blue Dolphins, the Dolphins, some shit like that, and you walk in and the should look like the ocean. She got jellyfish on the wall somewhere anyway, you know, like really, really looked like the ocean, like they went in. I mean, you walk into the bar and I'm kind of like, you know, I'm out. You know, for those who don't know us out of it, to the introvert is me. You know So I walk in there by myself.
Vladimir Bautista [00:20:51] You got to sink or swim now. I'm not there to save you.
Ramon Reyes [00:20:55] We here, nah we here baby. So we walk and I walk into the bar, you know, basically I see them, you know, they offer me a menu. I get weed I'm fucking blown out my my mind but I am keeping my New York cool. You're know what I mean. I'm walking into a place where.
Vladimir Bautista [00:21:11] Trying to act like you're not super overwhelmed.
Ramon Reyes [00:21:12] Yeah!! I'm trying to act like an adult because I'm walking in and it smells like weed and I'm like, oh my God, he's smoking. They don't give a fuck. I'm like, what's going on? Nobody cares. And I'm like, all right, OK, give me the menu. And I'm like, all right. I see different types of hazes they had different types of Hazes, like Silver Haze, Original Haze New York Haze and Diesel and like weird little Kushes and like all this shit, I'm like give me whatever I'm I'm like, give me some of this, some of that. Some of this. They saw that I smoked in tobacco. But, well, first of all, I got cool with the manager the manager saw that I was from New York, so, you know, he was like awww New York, he was a little Arabic. I got cool with him. He saw that I smoked in tobacco. He sent me downstairs. Downstairs. There's more like a lounge setting. Right. So in the lounge setting, I had to sit on these couches where it was like, you know, square shaped like a New York, like, you know, you got your section, type situation. And I'm sitting and taking up the whole couches. And they had to move to another section and there was another group coming. So I had to move and sit with these two these two young men, two young men were coming from Italy. 19, 20 year olds.
Vladimir Bautista [00:22:21] I want to know Who broke the ice and who started talking to who because I know you're not the outgoing type,.
Ramon Reyes [00:22:26] Yeah that basically I had that I had the kind of say what's up because you know, that like I said, you know, they're young man. I'm a little bit older. So, you know, I was polite and I said, what's up? I saw how there was smoke and they saw how I was smoking. So I kind of like, you know, we started.
Vladimir Bautista [00:22:38] So it was like organic, natural.
Ramon Reyes [00:22:38] . Yeah, it was organic. Nothing, nothing forced, you know.
Vladimir Bautista [00:22:42] So that peace pipe brings all the guards down.
Ramon Reyes [00:22:46] That peace pipe, that shit was quick, Nobody really had to force anything. I spoke to them for a little while. Then another couple joined us. They were from like they were maybe from England. And then this other interesting couple who were from Iraq, ironically, and I'm like, you guys smoke weed? And she was actually like the one who spoke like seven language. He didn't speak any he looked like he was from Brooklyn. I would have thought you from Brooklyn or something like that. But she spoke like seven languages and she's like super outspoken and very intelligent young lady. And I got to speak with all these people, all these people from like different parts of the world, you know? Mind you, I'm a nigga Like I said, we like what we just said. I'm from 157th Street and Broadway. You know, to me,.
Vladimir Bautista [00:23:32] This is like culture shock to the max.
Ramon Reyes [00:23:33] You know My mother. and Father are immigrants we not you know, ultra culture shock you know, and I'm smoking weed, again, all this is going through my mind and crazy. So I'm like, damn, I need this feeling back home. Because I know there's a lot of people just like me in New York who need this feeling and just need this sort of I don't know, I would say like some sort of like space in your mind and like in like your soul. So I figure when I get back home, how do we create this? And how do we. Exploit that, maybe not exploit, but maybe tell the rest of the world what's going on in New York as far as cannabis culture. How do we how do we wrap that in so. Again, me and you, we had to stay in the shadows, so we had a kind of call it something. So I kind of figure. Happy Munkey. Why Happy Munkey? I've always been into monkeys. And sometimes when people think of alter egos. Right, a lot of people think of like villains and they think they aren't. I wasn't thinking of my villain because we already come from villain. We really come from them. So I was thinking uplifting alter ego that will bring everybody together.
Vladimir Bautista [00:24:55] Which is a hard feat in New York with the antisocial and aggressiveness that is you have to have these things in mind.
Ramon Reyes [00:25:03] Exactly. So it's something Zen, something happy. And it's something like how do I get these people to feel that? And it just came to me and once it came to me I pretty much attacked you with the idea.
Vladimir Bautista [00:25:19] So you can imagine ladies and gentlemen when he comes you come tell me this. I can't picture this, but I'm like damn, you seem so passionate and so touched about it. I'm like this could work. I'm still like have my doubts, but I'm like, you know what? We have everything to gain and a lose lose. You know, try to take this journey and shit just ended up going from one to another. And then we started going to meetings and we started doing this. And we just noticed that there was in a voice for the East Coast and for New York in the cannabis industry, because before you came along, I said that I didn't even really know there was an industry.
Ramon Reyes [00:25:56] Right? There was. I didn't even know. We didn't know, you know, I just knew we needed to do something. And then it just happened to be that there isn't. And there is people trying to have an industry and trying to figure things out.
Vladimir Bautista [00:26:07] This is all foriegn because you hear about these things going on the West Coast. We didn't know that. There's people trying to cultivate that here in the East Coast.
Ramon Reyes [00:26:14] No, not at all. Not at all. We definitely know and that we built this this family. And it's crazy now. Like like I can't I can't even picture how how far we would of come in. Like in this little bit of time because, again, it's it's this this industry and it's this is in its infancy. You know, I mean.
Vladimir Bautista [00:26:32] But the whole point is there is about intention and all you had you just from a passion place of love.
Ramon Reyes [00:26:41] That's it.
Vladimir Bautista [00:26:41] You wanted to share this feeling that you felt when you weren't Amsterdam with the world. And it seemed impossible and rough and tough New York. But we figured it out.
Ramon Reyes [00:26:52] Yeah, we figured it out because it was a little selfish in one way. But I just knew that if I felt this way, hell Yeah there's a lot of people out there that feel that way. I just didn't know that An extreme amount of people felt that way.
Vladimir Bautista [00:27:11] It's Like the dance floor it's like nobody. Everybody wants to dance, but nobody takes that first leap until they don't see that first couple dancing on the dance floor. Then everybody then before, you know, after the first one. The dance floor is full because its just about that courage about that. First two people to get on the dance floor and start dancing for it to fill up.
Ramon Reyes [00:27:34] Now, you know, and I'm glad and I'm glad now people, you know, they trying and everybody's trying to you know, you got NORML trying. You know, they really they're like an organization is that this is really like trying to push bills and stuff like that. They're not trying to make just bullshit and, you know, make noise. And, you know, these are people that's trying to push bills and stuff like that. That's what we really need for those of us who are trying to transition. At the end of the day, if we're not paying attention to those bills that's Happening and then we don't, you don't wasting your time trying to build a brand and shit like that.
Vladimir Bautista [00:28:05] See what happened is, is that I feel like that's why know I mean, I feel like even if we don't change, everything we will spark the person's mind that will, because so many people from our communities don't know about these things. And I feel like through us, we're being the conduit for them to find out information about the bills, about the conference, about the CannaGathers, ect.. So I feel like that, you know, you can kill people where you can't kill ideas. So now the ideas were born with us, but now people from our communities know that we come from nothing, just like they do come from minority background, just like they do. And if we could do it, they could do it and that is what it takes. Because what happens is when it's only corporate people and the MedMen's and the Canopy's, how do you feel when you're from a block and where we came from that that seems unachievable to you. But now when somebody that where you came from is on the path, then that makes it feel realistic to you. And I feel like that's the big difference that we're making here in the East Coast, because I feel like people before us didn't think these things were feasible.
Ramon Reyes [00:29:17] Exactly. And then, like, one time you told me, my brother. We've done worse for less.
Vladimir Bautista [00:29:22] A lot Worse for less.
Ramon Reyes [00:29:25] So we will be all right, everybody else will be all right. And as long as, you know, we voice our opinion, I'm just hoping that our people get an opportunity at this thing. That's it, That's really what it is.
Vladimir Bautista [00:29:38] It's crazy how as we've gone along this journey, we noticed things. We noticed that there was no voice for East Coast, New York City, biggest consuming city in the world.
Ramon Reyes [00:29:50] In the world!
Vladimir Bautista [00:29:50] But They have absolutely, the least media presence of anybody in the world. And that's what now we're noticing that through us. People are getting a glimpse of that people who smoked in basements, that people smoked on rooftops. We're not on skateboards. We are not singing Kumbaya on the river. I mean, this is New York City we are in the buildings and the I mean, in the in the trenches in Gotham City, I mean.
Ramon Reyes [00:30:16] Everybody and everybody is like that because this is New York City. The typical New Yorker just so everybody understands. Typical New Yorker that lives in Manhattan. And forget about midtown. I am talking about Uptown. Where you supposed to be like ghetto, quote unquote, ghetto or whatever the case may be, got like two jobs just to just to live in that apartment. So let's be real like. We living in a proactive city where everybody smoking, but everybody super proactive. There is no laziness here. There's laziness maybe if you're a crackhead or a dope head, but a pothead, I highly doubt it because you can't keep up with the habit and the lifestyle that you live in Manhattan and New York in general. And be a pothead.
Vladimir Bautista [00:30:53] And that's why the New York Pothead, especially in Manhattan, is different than all the other potheads, because you have to pencil this into your astronomical schedule that you have with these five jobs in these thousand meetings. So, of course, you can't go on the beach and surf and do all this shit. Nobody has time over here. New Yorkers have a lot of thing but Time is not one of them. It's just crazy how we started his journey, not knowing that what we take for common and is just like Norm to us. The world doesn't know about that. I mean that everybody feels the same way from the billionaire to the corporate to the celebrity To the doctor to the lawyer. Everybody here is a high stress city. A high percentage of people need to stress relief.
Ramon Reyes [00:31:46] Absolutely. Everybody here needs this shit medically. My fucking by default. If you are born, if you was born and raised in New York, you should like by default, be able to smoke. Smoke, eat, ingest some sort of weed by default, fucking by the law. Law should just give you the rights. You was born in New York. Here you go. Smoke some weed, its edible. This shit is legal for you because you got stress.You was born with stress nigga. The shit was like ridiculous. If you was born in New York you is definitely stressed.
Vladimir Bautista [00:32:16] That's why I believe that when this really goes mainstream this is going to change the world, because part of the reason there's so much violence, so many problems because everybody's high strung and high stress. So when this becomes mainstream, you can go buy it in a bodega like some cigerettes.
Ramon Reyes [00:32:31] Oh yeah you will see the difference!
Vladimir Bautista [00:32:31] That that's going to change the Whole world, everything, because we just see how you just said it. When you are in an environment like that when you were in Amsterdam? How easy it is for people to talk to each other. But when you don't have the peace pipe in the equation, that wont happen as easier.
Ramon Reyes [00:32:49] Especially en un verano Nueva York baby Summer in New York is no joke. My nigga like this, she gets super tense no matter where you are, whether you are in Midtown West Village, Uptown, everybody is intense. The traffic gets crazy. Road rage. It's too hot, nigga get off me, you know, like it's crazy.
Vladimir Bautista [00:33:15] You know, as the other part that people don't understand, especially us being Dominican, is that in our culture and weed is looked worse upon than cocaine.
Ramon Reyes [00:33:28] Yeah in Santo Domingo Hell no.
Vladimir Bautista [00:33:29] And even the one of the first generation like the old school.
Ramon Reyes [00:33:30] Yeah the old school they look at you like you're crazy.
Vladimir Bautista [00:33:36] You A drug user. You a fucking crack head because you smoking weed.
Ramon Reyes [00:33:39] You a tecato!
Vladimir Bautista [00:33:41] So that's like one of right now one of the biggest challenges we have to help them understand that this is like a medical benefit to the people. I mean, it is. And the people don't understand that Americans already you had to have that hump and help educate them to understand the benefits of it. So to do the same with the latin community is a whole different challenge.
Ramon Reyes [00:34:01] A whole different challenge. Yeah, we are going to have to show them one way or another. I'm saying that that'd be one of my goals in life. You know, we were able to somehow, someway. Penetrate that community to where they understand, like, you know, like this is not just a smoking thing like you can definitely ingest it in many different ways for medical benefits.
Vladimir Bautista [00:34:20] Because up to like maybe like I would say maybe like three years ago in the Dominican Republic, you got six months for a blunt.
Ramon Reyes [00:34:27] Oh, shit you crazy Yeah. If you get caught with a roach it get crazy. Better pay your way out of that shit.
Vladimir Bautista [00:34:34] And that's where that stigma comes from because they bring that from over there. Over here. And they believe that that is like the worst thing in the world.
Ramon Reyes [00:34:43] Yeah. Even though, you know, right now because you know, you know, I guess generations later and you kind of like see it and they have been seeing it the videos and the artists. And, you know, a lot of people have been deported out there them niggas is out there still smoking, like they're here in New York, them niggas is wildn' but they kind of see a little bit more often. But if we start bringing it in a positive light, it would be a whole different situation.
Vladimir Bautista [00:35:07] It comes back to what you said over here when you said the new strains came in, I believe whats going to break. That is the new generation that the Latin millennial. They are going to help the older people understand that It's not as bad as they seen.
Ramon Reyes [00:35:25] And little by little, you know, we can do it. There's a lot of older folks out there that's trying CBD products. And, you know, there is better than them fuckin prescription pills they get prescribed and all that. They got to drink like eight different pills for 8 different functions.
Vladimir Bautista [00:35:40] And especially the Dominicans, Dominicans takes something for everything. So, you know, antibiotics. I'll get it from the bodega. For everything you take antibiotics, you get a headache, take a antibiotic. So that's what it's about to make it part of the culture, you know? Because over there in the latin community, even though its gone, things have changed a lot in America. And the Latin community is it really hasn't as much. That whole mentality, as far as like, you know, how bad it is and stuff like that. You still gonna get that ass whoopin if they if they found out you smoking weed.
Ramon Reyes [00:36:21] Muchacho My mother's a strong lady, man. She was not having that but we smoked weed man her sons smoke weed man. Sorry, Mom. You know, although I love weed from the beginning man I was a little young nigga smoking weed from the beginning. It went down. And that's it. And then, you know, again, you know, I started from love, we started from love. It felt great. Made me feel good. All this other shit then I grow older found out We went through all the trials and tribulations that has to do with weed in New York City. You know what I'm saying? We came out.
Vladimir Bautista [00:36:59] How many times did you have to go through the system 24 hours for smoking weed? How about those apples that people don't know about people in New York?
Ramon Reyes [00:37:09] Just for Smoking weed.
Vladimir Bautista [00:37:09] For Smoking weed. You had to go through Central Bookings for 24 hours.
Ramon Reyes [00:37:14] They don't understand that my brother. You got to spend. 24 hours, I'll give you an example, one time I was walking down the block, I'm not going to say what block it is. I just happened. It is just finished buying some brand new Nike's Uptown's is summertime. Every New Yorker feel me, you got some brand new new uptown's you walking down a block. You smoking half a blunt Nigga comes outside, you what's up my nigga boom. We smoke right there police jump out on us it was maybe, it was it wasn't even smokeable no more. And, you know, I kind of like ripped up whatever was left and too low and too, you know threw it on the ground like, you know. And it was obvious, like, you know, the cop looked at me and it was under covers, you know, by the way. Cop looked at me. The kid that just came outside, he was like, damn, you just saw me come outside. So we tell them, like, you know, it was just that Roach was being honest. They threw us against the building like, you know, It's just that roach. I aint have nothing on me He didn't have anything on him.
Vladimir Bautista [00:38:14] They had to fill that, quote my brotha.
Ramon Reyes [00:38:16] They had to fill that quota my brotha!! They was like okay young man, I love, all that is cool. Ya Got to come with us.
Vladimir Bautista [00:38:24] Gotta Come with us real quick.
Ramon Reyes [00:38:26] And not only that, we had we were like the first ones to get locked up that day. So what happens?
Vladimir Bautista [00:38:34] They had to put you in the van and ride you around until they locked more people up.
Ramon Reyes [00:38:38] Woooo Niggas don't know about that wave.
Vladimir Bautista [00:38:41] So it was like they were targeting urban neighborhoods to keep the numbers up and to basically have this funnel of people going through the system right at 24 hours for smoking weed, because I'm sure I was talking with somebody the other day it's funny we talking about this. I was talking somebody the other day that lives in Tribeca. And the person was like and of course, a Caucasian, you know, more affluent person is like it's crazy that, you know, what people had to go through before because I used to smoke back then in Tribeca and I wasn't getting arrested and gone through the system. So that's showed us that they were targeting us.
Ramon Reyes [00:39:19] They were targeting us. And we just didn't know.
Vladimir Bautista [00:39:21] At an alarming rate!
Ramon Reyes [00:39:23] We was just going through it, We didn't know the shit we were just going through it.
Vladimir Bautista [00:39:25] It was part of life, Oh Ramon got locked up he will be out in 24 hours We'll keep smoking like it's normal, tomorrow it's Johnny, Tomorrow Julio. Just it was just normal. But you know what? It goes to show that your efforts have not gone in vain, my friend, because Cuomo just passed today decriminalizing marijuana officially.
Ramon Reyes [00:39:44] And then what's today? What's today? What's today that anybody say? Anybody today?
Vladimir Bautista [00:39:50] Monday The twenty ninth. July 29th.
Ramon Reyes [00:39:53] Crazy.
Vladimir Bautista [00:39:54] And so it's like our efforts haven't gone in vain because look, things are changing because, you know, they were talking about it. But it's official like I mean, nobody's going through what we went through when we grew up for smoking. And it's crazy because that is to the point that some people I mean, they they had to go for jobs. They had to go for different application and different government jobs and they ruined them their records for just because they wanted to medicate themselves. It's crazy. Like you said look back now, that was normal. That was normal. Boom once every six month. Once every couple months. boom.
Ramon Reyes [00:40:36] Oh shit you got caught smoking or some bullshit, that's it I'll be right back. I mean, I'll see you tomorrow quick I got to go spend the night. What is crazy as like I said that day, you know, I went through the whole process. So for those who don't know the whole process, I went through the van process. I had to wait until they filled up the van because that's what people don't understand.
Vladimir Bautista [00:40:53] They knew they were they were sure they were. They were basically, they know guaranteed that by the end of the day, they could fill up a van full of people being arrested for smoking this plant.
Ramon Reyes [00:41:02] Yeah. For little bullshit. Because that was the main way.
Vladimir Bautista [00:41:05] There was no doubt that their mind.
Ramon Reyes [00:41:07] Everything was a bonus. Everything else was a bonus. But they could catch a whole bunch of people in that neighborhood smoking weed. And it was they they fill up the van with that. And whoever else in between, they catch people with money on them or whatever else or coke or whatever else they find, it was a bonus.
Vladimir Bautista [00:41:19] But the majority was weed.
Ramon Reyes [00:41:21] It was smoking weed. That was the big thing.
Vladimir Bautista [00:41:23] When you get down to central booking. 90 percent of Everybody got caught with somebody smoking weed. Or weed in possession or something like that.
Ramon Reyes [00:41:30] The whole van was filled with Everybody smoking weed, right. So now they take us to the local precinct, which is local, which is if I got locked up on, let's say, 150th, they take me to the precinct, 30th Precinct, boom they took us to the 30th precinct. And then they took us to the hub. They were so they they took us through the whole situation and took us to the hub. For those who don't know what the hub is. The Hub is another fucking Holding station that they take you before they take you all downtown to 100 Center Street. So they go to the hub, you know, they separate you who are everybody and then they take you to holdings.
Vladimir Bautista [00:42:01] Think about how much taxpayer money they were spending on this because we thought that this was going on everywhere, but it was only going on in our neighborhoods.
Ramon Reyes [00:42:09] Come on my brother. Crazy. We thought, I thought that was everywhere I thought that was everywhere.
Vladimir Bautista [00:42:16] This is happening on a Daily basis in our neighborhoods because like you said, we either smoking in the basement, in a building. So it was just so easy for them to catch us because you know me,.
Ramon Reyes [00:42:29] It was like we were cast out for some reason for just Smoking weed is like we were fucking being demonized for just smoking weed we had to go in like smoke in the shadows. And like feel like fucking crackheads and like dope heads and I like, you know, and shit. And not to offend crackheads and dopeheads because we know crackheads and Dopeheads too. But nigga, we ain't that we was just smoking weed.
Vladimir Bautista [00:42:50] They made you feel like that.
Ramon Reyes [00:42:55] Put me in a cell with them in a cell with a crackheads, dopehead, thieves, you know, you don't know what motherfuckers are doing. I was just smoking weed bro.
Vladimir Bautista [00:43:02] And then we thought it was normal that we going right back when You got out to smoke again because it was like oh this just happens to everybody. No it is just happening to us. Now looking back.
Ramon Reyes [00:43:13] Yeah. That's crazy. That's crazy. That was just happening to us.
Vladimir Bautista [00:43:20] Or don't be the one. This happened to me. How about I'm going to cop at the spot. And then when I go, I leave. They are waiting for me outside of the room. Boom I know what you were doing.
Ramon Reyes [00:43:32] Come here young man let me talk to you.
Vladimir Bautista [00:43:33] I'm just trying to medicate myself. I mean, get my mind right. I'm going thorugh...
Ramon Reyes [00:43:38] You didn't even get to smoke yet!
Vladimir Bautista [00:43:40] On top of the problems in the hood and they like, oh come here. You're going to make this quota. I know where. I know you got it. So basically they were letting you. Purchase your weed to smoke. So they go catch you right outside, right outside.
Ramon Reyes [00:43:54] Possession. And then they hit you with the where you got this from. That's crazy. Now they want you right then and there to tell you where you got that from. What do you mean this is mine. Like I'm on about the smoke this, I can't smoke this?
Vladimir Bautista [00:44:06] I need to Come by and cop this tomorrow. I'm not saying where I got this is my source.
Ramon Reyes [00:44:11] This shit magically. This shit magically appeared in my pocket officer what is wrong with you You know what I mean. Like buggin out . That was that's crazy, Bro, but there was definitely Targeting us, I aint even know it bro, we was just like you said. Every day, every day woke up and, you know, let me go get my wake and bake on my end and then it might get dangerous just from our wake bake.
Vladimir Bautista [00:44:30] So what do you see right now on the horizon for the cannabis industry that you think right now is like changing from then to now that you see that's a major change right now. What's on the horizon?
Ramon Reyes [00:44:43] Major change horizon. Well, I would talk ideally, hopefully. So ideally, hopefully. Not only me, you and like various other people who are fighting and trying to make it happen for people of I guess I want to say minority because we know minorities, but. People of color, you know, hopefully they give us a big opportunity.
Vladimir Bautista [00:45:14] Because of everything that you just said that we went through, every weed smoker has that Common no matter what race or religion preference they are. So we are a minority because we all every we smoker has been demonized in the community you can add the minority list because they've been a victim of this propaganda on this plant.
Ramon Reyes [00:45:36] Yeah, yeah. So it's crazy.
Vladimir Bautista [00:45:37] But things are changing. Governor Cuomo passed this law. Decriminalizing it's not what we want it to be.
Ramon Reyes [00:45:44] But it's decriminalized you can smoke now and they'll just give you a ticket.
Vladimir Bautista [00:45:48] Illinois just went recreational legal about a month ago. So things are changing. You know, things are changing.
Ramon Reyes [00:45:54] Things are changing. You know, they change and they changing, they did it in Nevada, did it in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, You know, California you know.
Vladimir Bautista [00:46:08] But it's crazy that I'm going to take you back to this saying, right, that, you know, I'm spiritual, I'm not trying get off topic or philosophical. There's this philosopher, Joseph Campbell, that studied all the religions and everything came up with this analogy.
Ramon Reyes [00:46:23] My man as a street scholar, by the way. Let me let me let me let me hold this before you hit them with the one two punch, my man is the Super street scholar hits them with one two punches. Go head man.
Vladimir Bautista [00:46:35] So I say that because it just goes an example of, well, we have to go through like they were interviewing him and they Asked, you know, what do you say to somebody that wants to make a difference on the world with all this bad things that are going on, war, crime, disease, everything bad that is going on in the world. What do you do? He told the person, well, you have to go back to the indigenous days like, you know, Native American Day. What they believed is that the world has always been a wasteland for the conception. And now things are born. They die. There is tradegy this always been like that and always will be like that. The only power we have as human beings is for us to be whatever we wish the world was. And that's what we've done. We've been what we wish the world of cannabis to be. And that's resonating. And that's the only power we have. And through we're leading by example by living our truth. And that's the only power we have. And I feel like that's resonating with the people. And that's all we've got to keep on doing, because you can't you can't change the way people feel what people want. And at the end of the day, like I told you, the whole thing with the dancefloor analogy, people see us, the first people to get up from our communities to dance. And everybody feels like it's OK to dance.
Ramon Reyes [00:47:53] Absolutely. Everybody get up and motherfucking twerk and on that. know That was beautiful said my friend, we going to leave you guys with that jewel and hope everybody gets up and dance.
Vladimir Bautista [00:48:06] Remember ladies and gentlemen you are blessed to be stressed. It's okay, don't worry about it. Get high Live your best life, we will catch on the next one.
My Nigga Ralph [00:48:30] What's good, everybody. This is your Nigga Ralph, trying to keep you fresh with the info from Happy Munkey. Every single podcast. You already know what it is? If you haven't followed us yet, follow us on Instagram at @HappyMunkey_ or @HappyMunkeyGoodies. Now, remember, that's Munkey with a U. Also, if you haven't checked us out, we're on YouTube. So check out our channel. HappyMunkeyTV. Keep us current. Live and everything with the culture.