For being such a busy man—a husband, father, and CEO of a holding company boasting a portfolio of nearly 30 different cannabis brands—Rob Weakley graciously adds this mid-afternoon interview to his plate.
“I thrive off of high stress work environments, anything fast-paced,” the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Indus Holdings Inc. says in between phone calls at his company’s Salinas, California headquarters. “Whether it’s restaurants or hospitality, if I wasn’t doing this I’d still be doing something high energy and high stress.
Rob Weakley and Indus Holdings, Inc
The “this” Weakley refers to is the growing Indus empire, which he founded in 2014 alongside culinary veteran Executive Vice President Mark Ainsworth. When the duo’s budding cannabis company started producing its first chocolate edibles, Los Angeles Magazine dubbed Weakley “the Willy Wonka of Weed”, but California had not yet legalized recreational marijuana. Those days of prohibition are long past, and Indus has advanced from chocolate factory to market leader as it continues to produce an award-winning lineup of original and licensed cannabis products.
With big developments on the horizon, Weakley’s plate is full 24/7. Still, he was able to spend a few minutes discussing, among other things, his love for Northern California and what makes Indus a “family” business.
What do you love most about your work?
Rob Weakley: Team building. We’ve brought in people with so many varied backgrounds, from our President [Joe Bayern] who came from VOSS water and our Chief Compliance Officer [Kelly McMillin] is former law enforcement – bringing people and forming a team is the best experience. They understand that the cannabis industry can be just like any other industry they’re used to running.
“We’re a multi-generational company, we’re a family, and to see everyone come together and personally invest in these brands and this industry is a tremendous feeling.”Rob Weakley, Indus CEO
It’s such a diverse team.
Rob Weakley: It is, and I enjoy the camaraderie. We’re a multi-generational company, we’re a family, and to see everyone come together and personally invest in these brands and this industry is a tremendous feeling. It’s like the restaurant business; you can’t do it with just one person. You need a team to execute successfully, that’s the only way to do it.
What makes Northern California the perfect home for you and Indus?
Rob Weakley: It’s an unbelievable place to raise a family. You get the best of both worlds; we’re in the agricultural capital – the “Salad Bowl of the World” – but the ocean is so close by. The mountains are so close by, you can ski, golf, anything; and we have amazing weather here.
When you have visitors, where do you like to take them?
Rob Weakley: I like to dine out, so I always recommend Bernardus [Lodge & Spa] in Carmel Valley. Chef Cal Stamenoy does an amazing job, and you get the great weather of the wine-growing region. I also love [Intercontinental] The Clement Monterey. You’re right on the ocean, you can see the whales, the sea otters, and it’s close to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Rob Weakley: [Laughs] I don’t even want to imagine. I still have a passion for restaurants and hospitality, but it would also be nice to just sit on a boat on a lake or somewhere in the ocean.