Tucky Blunt Jr. on Redefining the Cannabis Scene in Oakland
A child of Yahweh, husband, father, hard worker, hustler, Alphonso "Tucky" Blunt Jr., is a true testament to walking your path. The owner of Proud Papas Clothing/Auto Detail and Blunts and Moore dispensary is a fifth-generation Oakland, California, native who has opened the first retail shop under Oakland’s Cannabis Social Equity Program.
Growing up in Oakland during the war on drugs era, he managed to stay out of trouble and maintain a 4.0 GPA and a full-time job while in high school. He was also using and selling cannabis. Cannabis sales to him was another form of employment. In 1999, while on an errand with his grandmother, she had him go to a dispensary—from that day forward his mission was to own one for himself, so he could sell cannabis legally. In 2005, he was arrested for possession with the intent to sell, and given 10 years of felony probation with a four-way search clause. Still determined to learn more on the legal side, he attended and graduated from Oaksterdam University in 2008. Had he not been arrested, he would not have qualified for the Equity program.
Now, as the fist person to open a retail shop under Oakland’s Social Equity program, he is finally continuing on that path of ownership. Blunts and Moore opened its doors on Nov. 24, 2018, to a huge crowd, great food and lifted spirits.
We spoke with Tucky for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in cannabis.
Tucky, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Oakland, California, and I still do today.
Your current role in the cannabis industry.
Instructor, influencer, brand ambassador, advocate, owner of Blunts and Moore based in Oakland.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
In 1999, after selling cannabis illegally for three years, my grandmother (RIP) took me to my first dispensary in Oakland. I didn't know what it was until she came out. She had a white bag. I asked what was in the bag and she said weed. I literally responded "You bought weed from a store? I want one of those!" In 2018, I opened my first dispensary in Oakland, about eight blocks from her house.
A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.
Simply Green (my flower line), Cookey Man edibles (est. 2003 my former edible company), and of course, Blunts and Moore.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.
Growing a business without the help of social media. So being able to work around it, because with all the restrictions it's pointless. But with this being the social media age, they get locked into only using it and don't remember other ways to market. That's the challenge—being willing to change.
One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
Consumption lounges. They will take brands to the next level. Blunts and Moore was just granted the first Consumption Lounge permit for smoking in Oakland history.
A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.
40 Tons, M4MM and Last Prisoner Project. Simple answer, they represent people who look like me and come from my background.
A recent project you're proud of.
Designing the consumption lounge for Blunts and Moore. I'm proud because this will be another first for Oakland done by my company. I know this will be a part of making Oakland a destination location for cannabis.
Someone else's project you admired recently.
MJ Unpacked NYC, because it wasn't like all the other conferences. We were represented well as far as social equity, as far as nonwhite brands.
Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.
AL Harrington (Viola), because he is doing his best to make sure we all win.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
I've been in the cannabis industry since I started working. There has never been a B.C. (before cannabis). Cannabis is MY LIFE!
Higher Calling is a weekly series, publishing on Thursdays, where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.