Bethany and Justin Rondeaux first grew cannabis in the closet of their airstream travel trailer — the only affordable option during the young couple’s college years. Over time, Bethany realized that certain strains were more effective for easing the pain of her migraines, and the two began to create their own genetics, pinpointing what worked best for consistent comfort.
“That’s how we came up with our first strain, Pacific Blue,” she explains.
Eventually, the closet became a small shed, then a garage, followed by a shop, and another shop. “We were hustling to just get as much growth as we could within our own means.”
Bethany and Justin Rondeaux
Today, the brand Falcanna has long flown the coop, expanding not just from Washington into Oklahoma, but also into Europe. “You can get Falcanna in Spain,” Bethany says with a smile. In Spain, cannabis clubs allow people to sign up for a private membership to enter the venue, purchase weed, and socialize. Falcanna owns two such clubs.
Falcanna started before Washington had even legalized recreational cannabis. “It was really hard to feel like you didn’t have to sleep with one eye open back then,” Bethany recalls. But despite anxiety in the medical market, the couple didn’t want to see Washington’s recreational bill, i502, pass. She and Justin spoke with politicians, handed out flyers, and warned their customers of negative outcomes. Still, i502 passed.
“We expected it to turn out pretty much exactly how it did. It eliminated most original growers from medical days—it’s overtaxed,” she explains. “We were against it, but at the same time, we knew that we had to transition,” says Bethany. They continued to sell out of their medical dispensary, Olympic Sinsemilla, until the very last day of medical.
In Washington, cannabis license holders can’t double dip. You can’t both own a dispensary and grow the weed that you sell. Bethany and Justin decided to focus on farming as they moved into the recreational industry. Now, they have a large portfolio of strains, all with their own distinct genetics.
With a new business model came a name change. “We wanted to have a name that we could trademark. Something that’s memorable, that speaks to who we are as founders,” she explains. “And that’s how we came up with Falcanna.”
The couple met over a shared love for falconry. In what Bethany describes as a “whirlwind romance,” they married within six months of meeting. Since then, they’ve gone from college students growing weed in an airstream closet to welcoming their first child earlier this summer.
But they’ve also been up to something else the whole time: breeding and rehabilitating falcons. Though they have a separate facility for this endeavor in Washington, the passion also brings the two overseas regularly, from Spain to Dubai, where they’ve since established connections to solidify their cannabis relationships.
“We feel comfortable expanding in Europe. It’s a lot different than here in the states, but there’s a lot of opportunity there,” explains Bethany, who says that cannabis facilities in Europe must be equivalent to pharmaceutical production facilities. “The threshold for entry is a lot higher and it’s a lot more paperwork initially to get there, but when you finally are there, it’s a little bit more stable than the states.”
Falcanna has three facilities in Washington, each under a separate grow license, and are currently building a new 26,000 square-foot facility.
Though it’s where Falcanna got its start, Bethany sees Washington as an oversaturated market, with far too many unused licenses and devalued cannabis prices. The problem stems from a never-ending supply of available licenses, while the retail side is more limited. “Every retail license that’s been issued is pretty much operational,” she says. “That’s a lot more stable than the growing side, where you have over 600 licenses with zero sales that are still somehow in circulation. It’s a constant competition coming up all the time. You really have to be a strong brand and do a quality job just to exist in the cannabis space in Washington.”
The brand also has a presence in Oklahoma, where Bethany grew up. “Being in Oklahoma is an opportunity to expand our business. And they’re really reasonable when it comes to tax rates and things like that, compared to Washington,” she explains. “And my family’s there, so it just made sense.”
The Rondeauxs take a simple approach to quality control: they grow stuff they’d actually want to smoke. Not much has changed about this process since their medical days. “We’ve always been pesticide free. Since we grow indoors, we use really high-quality filtration systems and UV filters to make sure that we have a very clean, quality facility. We also use organic mineral teas and all organic nutrients,” Bethany explains.
Though their products sell at a higher price point than many on the market, Bethany knows it’s reflective of the quality. “We still think it’s important to have a lot of human interaction with the plant. We do a cold cure, where we take the whole plant, and harvest and cure it over the course of three weeks before we trim or pluck the plant in any way,” she says. “It’s a high quality experience because we also smoke weed.”
Unsurprisingly, their dedication to sticking close to nature is reflected in their packaging. “We’re very environmentally conscious,” she states. “Our joint tubes are biodegradable because they’re made of a hemp and pulp blend, and our packaging biodegrades in less than twenty years because it’s made of a cornstarch base.”
To make sure all contents are usable and not a total waste after the weed is smoked, the company’s package designs come as insertable stickers. You can remove the insert and keep the strain sticker long after the weed is gone. Each strain sticker is unique to the genetics, with whimsical, fantasy-inspired artwork that encapsulates the feelings you might expect from taking a puff.
“We have an in-house artist that we work with and we spend a lot of time designing and being really thoughtful on the artwork,” explains Bethany. “The first step is, of course, smoking the strain a lot and feeling out what it inspires.”
Falcanna’s final Washington expansion is slated to put more of their products on the eastern side of the state — all while the couple continues working on their European presence, prepping for Germany’s impending legalization and eyeing other opportunities abroad.
“We don’t have a board of directors telling us what to do. It’s just me and Justin, so we’re able to make decisions and pivot really quickly,” Bethany says of the couple’s success.
And with the birth of their first child earlier this year, the two see even more motivation to keep growing.
“We’ve just been through so much change in the industry. It’s been this crazy ride that we’ve done together the entire time.”