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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Ever since Chef Leighton Knowles prepared New York City’s first meal infused with cannabidiol (CBD) a year ago, the Glendale-based cannabis entrepreneur and his team have taken their company, Flower Power Coffee Co., to new heights.

The company was launched in 2017, and within a few months Knowles has taken his CBD coffee, lollipops and candies on the road to various expos to share his vision, and had huge success selling his products strictly online. In 2018, however, Flower Power partnered with Caffeine Underground in Bushwick and the cafe has suddenly become known as the only location in the city that sells legal, cannabis-infused coffee.

When QNS caught up with Knowles on April 3 he was continuing his travels, riding on an Amtrak train from Massachusetts to Ohio. Knowles described the success and attention his company is receiving as “humbling,” but he measures the company’s impact through more important factors.

“We’re helping people, and people are seeing the vision behind the company,” Knowles said. “The feedback from the general public has been really heart-warming. There’s a lot of people living a lot better lives.”

The natural benefits of CBD have driven this feedback, as the compound found in marijuana plants is known to provide relief from acute pain, seizures, depression, inflammation and more. Unlike the more commonly known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there is no psychoactive effect or high associated with CBD use. In fact, the compound is commonly used in medically focused cannabis products and is legal in all 50 states.

Knowles, who has 14 years of culinary experience, keeps his cannabis infusion process close to the vest like any great chef with a secret recipe. The most he will say about it is that he uses only organic hemp to make his products. But he has created trust within his customer base, and his team, which he said is another key to Flower Power’s success.

I think it’s the people we surround ourselves with. We work very well as a team,” Knowles said. “We’re like a little family making sure everything is done correctly from the beginning. Any issues we hit head on before moving forward.”

It is actually a family affair in part because Knowles’ wife, Beth Knowles, serves as a self-described “Jill-of-all-trades” for the company, though she is also an accomplished photographer. The other two members of the team are Dr. Craig Leivent, who has degrees in pharmacology and botany and has done extensive CBD research, and Terry N. Bouvier, a business adviser with more than 20 years of experience.

Since the launch of Flower Power, Mr. and Mrs. Knowles have made appearances at the NECANN Convention, the New York City Cannabis Film Festival, the Maine Cannabis Convention and more. Knowles said that they often dress up in costumes and roam the floor of the convention centers, engaging people in conversation about CBD. Flower Power is consistently “one of the busiest stalls” at the events, he said.

Knowles is always looking to make connections with new small businesses that share his “family first” mentality and his desire to help others enjoy a better quality of life, and the company is growing every day. He could not provide specifics, but said that he is humbled by his phone “blowing up” with people interested in learning more about CBD, and hinted that Flower Power can soon be found on the stock market.

For now, Knowles is planning an event at Caffeine Underground at the end of April that will feature musical performances and education about the benefits of CBD, and he hopes other small business owners will come to connect with each other. No matter how successful the company gets, Knowles is just happy to be making a difference.

“To have a company that is in this industry and is educating people and saying, ‘You need to wake up and smell the coffee,’ its very humbling,” Knowles said.

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