To Be Blunt
To Be Blunt
163 From Smuggling Cannabis to Launching a Regulated Cannabis Brand with Barry Foy of Gentleman Smugglers

163 From Smuggling Cannabis to Launching a Regulated Cannabis Brand with Barry Foy of Gentleman Smugglers

“It was basically a perfect storm – There was only the black market. There was nothing legal about cannabis whatsoever. And so, thus began a fourteen-year journey of acquiring, dispensing, packaging, and transporting; Everything all in one. We were everything.” – Barry Foy

Barry Foy, CEO of Gentlemen Smugglers, began his involvement in the cannabis industry in the early '70s by supplying soldiers from a South Carolina training base. As his operations grew significantly, so did the target on his back by Reagan’s war on drugs. 

In my conversation with Barry, we talk about how he faced an 11-year sentence amidst an aggressive anti-cannabis sentiment in the 1970s, his experiences spanning the transformation of the market from its unregulated days, and navigating cannabis from the other side – Regulations and all its challenges. 

We dive into the evolution of cannabis through the eyes of one of its most intriguing advocates.

[00:00 - 10:39] How Barry Foy Started in the 1970s Trade, Served 11 Years in Prison, and Now Advocates for its Acceptance.

[10:40 - 20:44] How Cannabis Choice in Texas's Legacy Market Has Evolved in Terms of Product Variety, Quality, and Marketing.

[20:45 - 26:57] From Black Market to Regulation: Insight Through Cannabis History and the War on Drugs

[20:45 - 34:35] Barry's Journey Through the Legal Labyrinth and Return to the Cannabis Scene 

[34:36 - 41:46] Why Massachusetts? The Social Equity Factor & Benefits of Transitioning from Illicit to a Regulated Market

[41:47 - 52:01] Lessons Learned Operating on the Regulated Side

Connect with Barry!



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Gentlemen Smugglers is inspired by one of America's true legends, Barry Foy. Barry ran a tight ship, and his Smugglers were notorious for sailing from Jamaica to Colombia to Lebanon, dominating the East Coast cannabis market. For over a decade, Foy's operation played cat and mouse with the FBI, DEA & Interpol. In many ways, they served as the dispensaries of their era. However, Operation Jackpot, the initial phase of President Reagan’s War on Drugs, eventually led to their downfall. Barry Foy was charged with kingpin status and spent 11 years behind bars. Interestingly, many of the markets he once supplied are now legally operational. This inspired the re-establishment of the Gentlemen Smugglers brand to deliver quality cannabis to the public legally, emphasizing social equity reinvestment and unparalleled storytelling at its heart.

Resources Mentioned
The Outlaw Digest Newsletter

Book: Jackpot by Jason Ryan

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To Be Blunt
To Be Blunt
An honest conversation about taking cannabis packaged goods to market with Shayda Torabi, business owner (@restartcbd), advocate (@texashempcoalition), and thought leader (@theshaydatorabi).