AKA The Man with the Plan
As Founding Partner and Managing Director of Next Big Crop, Rich Cardinal puts his passions for problem-solving and plant cultivation to good use for each and every client.
“My goal is to help everyone succeed through the inevitable growing pains that come with all components of cannabis, such as lowering production costs and leveraging state-of-the-art systems,” Rich says. “My take is that even if something seems status quo and people have been doing it for five years, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best way to do it, so I love to take a step back and work with the team to brainstorm top ways to tackle it, and then collectively come up with the most creative approach for reaching the best possible outcome. It’s so rewarding to pop back into an operation that we were instrumental in launching and see everything working smoothly.”
Originally from Pennsylvania, Rich’s move at a young age to Florida left him longing for the outdoors, so he was delighted when his later move in 2006 to Boulder, Colo., found him working first for 5 winters as a snowmaker at ski resorts and then as a stonemason, heavy equipment operator and construction foreman for a local landscaping company, his first foray into the world of plant propagation. His work ethic, dedication and stubbornness, along with his construction and management background, made him a natural for the cannabis industry during the early days of Colorado’s medical program, which led to his managing the day-to-day operations of a 42,000-square-foot greenhouse growing sustainable, top-quality cannabis. As he began to excel at devising creative solutions to streamlining and standardizing, his brainchild Next Big Crop began to take shape as a way to address the unique demands of the cannabis industry on a larger-scale consulting basis.
Next Big Crop joined the General Cannabis family in 2015, amplifying their combined capacity for addressing and solving anything the cannabis industry comes up with as it evolves. In addition to being awarded the highest cultivation score statewide for his client’s successful cultivation application in Maryland, Rich has been instrumental in securing licenses in Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, California and Arkansas, and along with his team has shepherded more than a dozen licensees through every aspect of the subsequent process.
After a day of keeping the wheels turning in the regulated cannabis space, Rich likes to spin a different kind of wheel by biking any way he can — or on a mountain bike or dirt bike in the desert. “Moab is my favorite place on Earth,” he says. “My wife and I love to take our daughter, who’s almost 5, and load a bunch of bikes in the car and head out. It’s the best way to let my brain work on challenges of a different sort, which can be weirdly relaxing.”