Best Way to Fiddle Around

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FOCUS Cameron and Shannon Hattan were the first licensed cannabis growers in Sonoma County who focused primarily on CBD-dominant strains. Photo by Jonah Raskin

Nobody knows the world of the cannabis dispensary better than big, bearded, jovial Cameron Hattan, though he hasn’t ever owned or operated a dispensary. He doesn’t want to own one. There are too many headaches. For years, Cameron was a bodacious cannabis farmer. Now he’s a bodacious cannabis salesman and distributor who works with rural farmers and brings their products to distant urban markets.

“Getting weed on the shelves of a dispensary is one of the most difficult things in the world,” Cameron tells me on a wind-swept hillside outside Sebastopol. He adds, “The cannabis industry is like no other. You can’t use banks or credit cards. Everything has to be in cash.”

Cameron sounds like he’s complaining, though he might simply be describing the realities of the cannabis world. He looks out at the rolling green hills and says, “For years, I knocked on a dozen California dispensary doors a day. I’ve been to hundreds of them. In the early days, many kids who worked behind the counter had no retail experience, though they had smoked dope.”

Cameron pauses again and catches his breath. “Prior to the passage of Prop. 64 in 2016, dispensaries were poorly marked and hard to find,” he says. “After Prop. 64, purchasing shelf space became the norm. If you didn’t pay to display, your products weren’t carried or were stacked in a dark corner.”

For nearly a decade before Cameron and his wife, Shannon, got into the distribution game, they grew marijuana for the medical cannabis market that was ushered in by Prop. 215, which California voters approved back in 1996. The Hattans were the first licensed cannabis growers in Sonoma County, focusing primarily on CBD-dominant strains. When their business expanded, they partnered with other “legacy” growers and grew a portfolio under their very own “Fiddler’s Greens” brand. It’s thriving, and so is their distribution company, “High Tide.”

Shannon Hattan grew up in Texas and attended Texas A&M. In the mid-1990s, for a class project, she did research on cannabis, which led her down a rabbit hole and into the marijuana wonderland. She met Cameron in the Virgin Islands, where he worked as a bartender after a stint with the Marines.

A long and windy road brought them from the Islands to Northern California where they began to cultivate cannabis for their own health and wellness.

The Hattans spend much of their time educating the public about a plant they’ve come to love and respect. The bottom line, folks: try Fiddler’s Greens weed (www.fiddlers-greens.com). If your favorite dispensary doesn’t carry their products, ask for them and tell them the Hattans sent you.—JR