The popular weed podcast First Smoke of the Day recently put on a “Family Reunion” in Los Angeles, inviting supporters of the show and everyone who has appeared on it. Hundreds gathered, coming from all over California and all over the country, giving tangible evidence to the passionate community that has been built around the podcast.
The podcast is the work of its two hosts, Cody and Lance. When First Smoke of the Day first appeared in 2021 it was audio-only. That’s because the topic had to do with the real underground culture of growing and selling weed. The first guests were well-known on the underground scene but would never show their face.
From the start it was clear that the podcast was all about providing a platform for those in the cannabis industry to tell their stories.
Once the podcast turned the cameras on and began to feature big players in the weed game in California and beyond, its viewership skyrocketed. 2022 proved to be a year of massive growth for the pair. The show has so far featured interviews with high-profile brand owners including brands like Doja Exclusive, Insane, Fidel’s, Fiore, Ball Family Farms, Viola, B Eazy Buds, Cookies, the Backpack Boyz, Jungle Boys, Runtz, Connected, Sherbinskis, Alien Labs, Squintz, Blueprint, and many others. The show provides a who’s-who of California weed, plus national and international guests.
With every new episode, there is hype and excitement online. Inside the weed industry, everyone wants to get their spot on First Smoke of the Day. To be a guest confers instant clout.
The show features Cody and Lance, two weed insiders, chopping it up with industry legends. Episodes usually run well over an hour and the unscripted conversation is allowed to flow without constraints. The result is a sense of spending time chatting and hearing stories from big players like Berner, Kenji Fujishima, Ryan Bartholomew, Ray Bama, and Juan Quesada.
The Origins of First Smoke of the Day
What would appear to be the podcast’s almost instant success was in fact a long process that began years earlier, when Cody and Lance became friends in their home state of Florida. Cody approached Lance when he saw that Lance had tried to enter the legal weed market in Colorado, but returned to Florida when he found only corruption and onerous expenses in the recreational market.
“I was just compelled by his drive and his passion, his calling,” Cody said of Lance. “That just spoke to me. And I love good weed. And I could see he had played with a lot, in his mind, he stopped believing in the dream at the time, I could see that. But I was like, I’m a dreamer. I just can’t help it,” Cody said.
Around 2014 the two would regularly meet in the mornings and have conversations while enjoying Lance’s freshly-cured weed.
“The whole time having that first smoke of the day, this goes back to even before we moved to LA, we’d have these five to six hour conversations that would lead into manifesting business and dreams. What are you trying to do? Talking through these motions that then become reality 10 years later, 15 years later,” Cody said.
The two decided first to launch a clothing and lifestyle brand in Florida, which made them feel like a big fish in a small pond. They felt like they wanted to go somewhere where they were “celebrated, not just tolerated.” The lifestyle they were targeting with their brand made more sense in California. So, they moved.
Lance was inspired by Cody’s vision and was ready to follow his lead.
“There are two things we knew,” Lance said. “I knew for a fact, he’s a great businessman, and his branding and marketing is 100% on point. I knew I grew great weed. So, together we’re a good team,” Lance said.
The two came to California around 2015 during the Prop 215 era of medicinal marijuana and started Blackleaf as a weed and clothing brand. They went all in with marketing and pushing their brand, making connections all throughout the industry.
“The whole reason that First Smoke of the Day is popping right now is because we hit the sessions hard and started popping up on the scene and meeting everybody. Literally meeting everybody,” Cody said.
They entered their weed into competitions like the Cannabis Cup, and got a great reception.
“It turned out to be a real thing. We felt like we were really chasing legalization and we’re fucking putting out our own shit. He’s growing it, we worked with a few breeders, I don’t want to say to create a strain but put a few strains on the map,” Cody said. They had success with strains like Dirty Sprite and Fruity Pebbles.
“We were just letting shit happen organically. I didn’t really plan for any of it,” Cody said.
But with the coming of recreational legalization in 2018, Blackleaf began to struggle. Their grow operation was broken into more than once, at one point putting the two in a very dangerous situation. The competition in the industry was fierce. Cody thought about taking another direction in business, and handed Blackleaf off to Lance to maintain.
“Our dream took a hit,” Lance said. “The dream that we had together.”
“You got to work through those hard times,” Cody said. “But we never crossed each other. We never betrayed each other, never fucked with each other. None of that,” he said.
They kept their connection even through this particularly rocky period.
“That’s what means a lot to me about our friendship is that like, we’ve been through a lot of shit. We’ve been through a lot of tests. And neither of us ever buckled. So, that’s really rare, in my opinion,” Cody said.
It was 2018 when a “first draft” of a podcast between the two had a false start. They recorded a few episodes that they weren’t happy with, and then shelved it.
But in 2020, Coronavirus changed things. Cody found himself stuck at home consuming all the online streaming content he could find. He realized there wasn’t enough content for the weed community. He started to hatch an idea for a podcast that would become First Smoke of the Day.
“We came back around, and we went through COVID. And I know that changed a lot of things. And then I saw the need for media and the need for content,” Cody said.
He became determined on the idea.
“This is like my baby right here. This idea is probably one of the first times where I’m like, now, let me figure it out. Let me have the idea. Let me come off and let me create. Let’s see what I can do,” Cody said.
He saw that there was an opportunity in the media landscape.
“What there was out there for us is very little. I love it, though. Marijuana Mania. Shout out to Berner, I love that shit. Shout out to Strain Hunters. I love that. All those shows highly influenced me,” Cody said.
He wanted it to be for insiders but also for a wide audience.
“I didn’t want to make it a grow show. I didn’t want to make it a fucking hustle show. And I wanted to make it for the smokers. If you are on any level, if you smoke weed, you could fuck with our show, you’ll like it,” Cody said.
He brought Lance back in to the picture. Between the two of them, they thought they could recreate the intense conversations they used to have as far back as Florida over the first smoke of the day, but with people that are actually in the weed scene.
The two had a strong idea of creating community and connections through the podcast.
“I told him, we have to just go into people’s stories, everyone loves a story. So, focus on the story. That’s the thing, everybody loves a story because you can relate, you can connect, you have that compatibility that you’re looking for. At the end of the day, people just want to connect, and they can only connect through a community of like-minded people,” Cody said.
Once they created a platform for people in weed to tell their story, it seemed that everyone wanted their chance to appear on the show. After years of hustling in the industry, Cody and Lance had built up a reputation that was trustworthy.
“They really fuck with us now. We put our stamp on shit. We take that shit serious. We can’t play games. My face card is 100 in the streets. It’s gold. So, I don’t waver on that shit for nothing. That means a lot to me. It’s been a lot of years now,” Cody said.
For Lance, it’s an opportunity to give the spotlight to industry veterans.
“We just want to shine a light on their journey and let people hear it because people don’t know what a lot of these guys or girls have been through to get where they are here. ‘Oh, he just started a weed brand.’ No, it’s like, 15 or 20 years or 30 years in the making, the guy had life in prison, wherever their journey started, it’s relatable to somebody,” Lance said.
Cody says that a bond is formed when someone tells their story through conversation.
“When people sit down in that seat and tell me their whole life story, it means a lot. You just gained a relationship with them because who do you know that meets for the first time that they tell each other their life story?” Cody said.
“You feel it. You build a deep relationship and a deep respect. This comes with great responsibility, what we’re dealing with. People really rely on us to keep it real and remain that way. And we’re blessed too because, we get to keep good relationships because people trusted us. We trust them and it’s not to be broken,” Cody said.
Cody realized that with the podcast, he could approach media content his own way, with a vision that he shared with Lance. Beyond that, he lets the episodes happen organically.
“We don’t ever know. At eighty five episodes, I’m proud to say we didn’t premeditate any of those. It happens week by week, month by month, we just do the work. It’s been all organic. There’s no way you could really redo it this way or plan it this way,” Cody said.
Finally by 2021 the two were back together, producing content and going fully forward in a fresh direction, yet harkening back to ideas that they percolated almost ten years prior.
For the two, it was a moment of revelation.
“We can do it our way,” Cody said. “I don’t have to just be another brand and try to chase the shops and do all that, because I was exhausted with that. And I was like, let me let me do this immediately, I will do content and hopefully it’ll work out because people fuck with it, then it could be big.”
The Future of First Smoke of the Day
Cody says that what First Smoke of the Day is and represents is still in its infancy. He and Lance plan to continue to build it up, broadening their scope, doing more international content, staging events, and building an online digital platform.
“I know within a couple of years, there won’t be one place in this globe we couldn’t go to and get love from people who are doing this shit,” Cody said. “It just shows you how many people around the world are living this life too. And they needed a home. So, we are street family,” he said.
Cody says he can’t help but feel that he’s just getting started. He’s pumped about the growth and success of the show over the past two years.
“With all the shit I’ve been facing through this past year, I’m like, man, the growth is crazy and I feel unstoppable at this point. I’m at the point where I feel like, I got nothing to lose. I’m all in, this is it. I’m all in with this vision. The shit got to pop,” he said.
“We got the wheels rolling, now it’s like to really start being able to hit the gas,” Cody said.
While they’ve been applauded by industry greats, they are by no means done with what they started. They have much further to go, Cody says.
“If people really knew like the struggle, this is by no means a success story right now, we’re still in the trenches, we’re digging, we’re marching,” Cody said.
At January’s Family Reunion event, Cody recieved tons of congratulations. He wasn’t ready to rest on his laurels.
“I told everybody coming up to me saying congratulations, I told them, it’s a start. It’s a start. It’s a start. That’s where we’re at,” Cody said.
Even the Family Reunion event is one that the guys see becoming a regular event. They see it growing beyond what was surely a successful night.
“I think that by next year it will be really something special, it’d be something no one wants to miss if you are in this game. If you’re in the weed world, you’ll want to be there,” Cody said.
Cody wants to expand the topics of the show to include other related content, bringing guests from the world of business or entertainment or sports.
To that end, the crew is ramping up to post not one but three episodes a week, with a plan to eventually upload seven days a week.
“That’s what will be a network. That consistency is just going to compound. Content is crazy,” Cody said.
The community being built around the podcast is what Cody and Lance are most passionate about. By gathering people of a like mind, opportunities are created that, the guys say, could have broad impact.
“There’ll be brands built, there’ll be collaborations done, there’ll be people partnering, there’ll be people funding other people’s stuff, there’s going to be real friendships and bonds made out of this community,” Cody said. “It’s going to shape the culture of cannabis, ultimately.”
Financially, it’s a rough business. “But,” Cody says, “as long as we can create freely in the process, we’re winning. We won. We are paid. That’s the money.”
Cody has no doubts about the strength and resilience of the weed community that he’s a part of, that the show puts the spotlight on.
”This community is strong. I don’t think people realize how strong this community is. We’re all freedom fighters. We’ve all been through a lot of shit. Even if you just smoke weed you’ve been through a lot. When we come together, we’re strong enough not to be fucked with, we’re resourceful. We’ve got real motion out here, real power, for real and it’s high up, it’s much higher up than you think,” Cody said.