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May 22, 2020

Meet Joe Salome of The Georgia Hemp Company as featured in Voyage ATL.

http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-joe-salome-georgia-hemp-company-sandy-springs/

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Salome.

Joe Salome was the snap bracelet sales king of St. Joseph Elementary and a major player in Dean Rusk Middle School’s gum and candy trade. (His father, a decorated Chief Master Sergeant, retired from the U.S. Air Force, supported his entrepreneurial ambitions with regular resupply runs to Costco.) Joe has been building businesses that bring people happiness and healing ever since.

When Joe was 18 and a freshman at Kennesaw State University, his father died suddenly and much too young. Joe moved back in with his mother while continuing his studies, the two of them supporting one another in their grief. Joe turned to cannabis to ease his depression. His mother — a nurse who had given him a copy of “Reefer Madness” but also access to “Cheech and Chong” movies — put his supply in a box on his shelf to keep his room tidy.

After graduating from Kennesaw with a degree in business management and a minor in marketing, Joe began a career in commercial marketing. He was a field marketing manager for more than 180 Moe’s Southwest Grill locations. A promotions and social media manager for Sports Talk 790 The Zone (now ESPN 790 The Zone). And a regional marketing manager and district sales leader for Hair Cuttery, the largest family-owned chain of hair salons in the country. But then his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and Joe feared he might lose her too. He took care of her, using medical cannabis to help get her through. And much to his relief, she made a full recovery.

“As a kid, I knew people using weed recreationally,” Joe says, “but as I got older, the reasons were different. People would tell me they were using medical cannabis ‘for my wife, who has Crohn’s disease,’ or ‘for my son, who has epilepsy.’”

Medical cannabis had helped Joe’s mother, and he thought it was a tragedy that so many people were denied similar healing and relief. He thought it was wrong that people suffering had to rely on dangerous opioids and other brutal pharmaceuticals. And he decided to do something about it.

So in 2013, he co-founded Halcyon Organics as an equity partner and CMO. Halcyon was the first medical cannabis company in the South, and Joe helped grow it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise that received major mainstream media coverage. He traveled with 11 Alive news to Seattle for a week to see Washington’s recreational cannabis laws in action. And Atlanta Magazine accompanied him to California for a feature on the state’s medical cannabis laws.

From 2014-2015, at the request of the office of Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), Joe helped develop and promote the Haleigh’s Hope Act, Georgia’s first law to legalize possession and use of low-THC medical cannabis. He continues to engage closely with the Georgia General Assembly — both directly and through lobbyists — on legislation legalizing medical cannabis and CBD. And he recently celebrated the passage of the 2019 Georgia’s Hope Act, which legalized limited production, manufacturing, and distribution of low-THC oil.

Joe also reaches out regularly to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local police departments to clarify their cannabis policies and offer information about legal possession. And he maintains sources and lobbyists in D.C. to keep abreast of FDA and DEA policies and practices.

Today, Joe is co-founder and managing partner of The Georgia Hemp Company, an online and brick-and-mortar retailer of hemp-based lifestyle and wellness products. And he is a co-founder and managing partner of Sympleaf Wellness, which produces and distributes natural CBD wellness products. Both companies give people natural alternatives for living happier, healthier lives. He is also a sought-after media authority and industry consultant on hemp legislation, sourcing, quality control, processing, distribution, and marketing. And he consults regularly with people considering cannabis-based treatments for serious illnesses.

Joe once helped a two-year-old with epidermolysis bullosa get off fentanyl patches. This rare genetic condition causes extremely fragile skin that can make even the softest touch excruciatingly painful. But fentanyl, a potent opioid, was causing severe side effects and leaving the child in a drug-induced fog. And it wasn’t even doing a good job of controlling the child’s pain. With the switch to medical cannabis, the child found much better pain relief without all the side effects.

“When people are able to get better,” he says, “when they’re able to live fuller lives, that’s the reason we’re doing what we’re doing.”

To date, Joe has consulted with over 3,000 Georgians on the therapeutic use of medical cannabis. People with mitochondrial disease, chronic inflammation, severe anxiety, endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, cancer, epilepsy, and more have come to Joe for help finding natural relief.

“It’s about helping people get their lives back,” he says. “People are suffering. We’re helping them get better. And giving people natural alternatives for living happier healthier lives.”

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s all how you handle the storm. I leverage the past eight years as a learning experience. Most would give up after not being able to process credit cards. Most would give up after not being able to open up a bank account or being shut down once they do. Most would give up after not being able to obtain a loan. Most would give up when being told they could not advertise or market their business through normal marketing channels. Being part of an emerging industry has been very exciting, even though there has been many knock you on your ass challenges.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Georgia Hemp Company – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Today, Joe is co-founder and managing partner of The Georgia Hemp Company, an online and brick-and-mortar retailer of hemp-based lifestyle and wellness products. And he is a co-founder and managing partner of Sympleaf Wellness, which produces and distributes natural CBD wellness products. Both companies give people natural alternatives for living happier, healthier lives. We are helping to normalize cannabis and bring it to the main street while respecting both the cannabis culture and the world we have lived in, where cannabis was evil. Melding together the cannabis culture and normal lifestyle.

“It’s about helping people get their lives back,” he says. “People are suffering. We’re helping them get better. And giving people natural alternatives for living happier healthier lives.”

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The Culture: There is only one ATL! The People, the food, the music, the vibe.

Least: Public Transportation. We need to wake up as a state and give our citizens better options for transportation. Ease our streets, ease our minds, clean our air quality.

Pricing:

  • CBD Oils that range from $25-$150.
  • CBD Hemp Flower Pre Roll Joints $10
  • CBD Beverages $5

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