A look inside the hydroelectric-powered, snowmelt-watered operation behind A Golden State's flower.
Going from high-stakes trading on Wall Street to growing cannabis may not sound like the most logical career trajectory, but for Nishant Reddy, the transition was all-natural. By bringing together his passion for health and wellness and the skills he picked up in finance, Reddy was able to channel his productive energy into a cannabis brand he could be proud of. That brand is A Golden State. Based in Redding, California, A Golden State produces proprietary strains of premium cannabis flower—much to the delight of the Proper Cannabis Committee. But getting to that point required a journey as singular as the cannabis itself.
This is Reddy's story as told to Proper.
On growing up in Jersey
I had a pretty normal, definitely fortunate upbringing. My parents were super supportive. They're coincidentally both physicians. My mom was chief of pediatrics for a very large hospital in New Jersey. She’s very close to pediatric epilepsy and the use of THC and CBD to treat various illnesses. It's been a really, really enjoyable and unique experience working with my parents over the last couple of years.
I grew up in Northern New Jersey, went to undergrad and business school in Washington, DC. Very early on, I knew that I didn't really want to follow in my parents' footsteps and go to medical school, but I really wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path. I think it's very much in tune with my personality, my strengths, and my passion to be able to manifest my own destiny in terms of a lifestyle, if you will. I'm an obsessive skier. Being outdoors is really important to me. The idea of being confined to a big company or corporation just never really sat well with me.
On working in finance
I decided to pursue a career in real estate development and traditional finance, focused on investment banking and private equity. At the time, I really thought I would be launching and one day focusing on my own real estate company full-time. So I ended up working on Wall Street, everywhere from JP Morgan to Morgan Stanley, and focused on real estate investment banking. I had the benefit of getting really high-profile deals under my belt in my early twenties thanks to Stuyvesant Town, which was the largest multifamily deal ever done in the U.S. When we bought it pre-recession, it was a $5 billion deal. It ended up becoming one of the classic case studies of the recession. These were really, really bulge bracket kind of investment banking deals.
“I had a very demanding life, so I started to use cannabis medicinally to balance that intensity.”
As I got into my upper twenties, that lifestyle of investment banking and private equity in New York became grueling—you know, hundred-hour workweeks every single workweek. I mean, I was getting home at three, four, five in the morning. I was back on the trading floor by seven or eight in the morning every single day and working weekends. It’s intense and it's an environment where there's really no room for error. You're dealing with a lot of money, really high-profile, unforgiving bosses, and clients that are trying to get very large deals done. It teaches you a lot about yourself, your mental toughness, your perseverance, and attention to detail. Then transferable skills like really, really analytical, numerical, financial skills. All of these things combined have really helped me and enabled me to then build the portfolio of cannabis companies that we have today.