In five years, Aaron Morris’ cannabis brand has grown from a bootstrapping startup to dominating the market, thanks to natural fruit gummies and a country hungering to get high. Next up—building the Anheuser-Busch of pot.
When Aaron Morris cofounded Wyld in 2015, his cannabis edibles operation wasn’t that different from a family kitchen the night before a bake sale. Morris and his team set up shop in an old farmhouse in Tumalo, Oregon, down the road from an alpaca ranch. The property was already licensed to grow marijuana but the stove only had one working burner. Morris would boil the syrups in household pots while wearing four layers of gloves to avoid getting burned and combine the other ingredients with a handheld electric mixer, which would inevitably die every few days.
The first batches of THC-infused gummies tasted like “crayons,” says cofounder Chris Joseph. Some even started to grow mold. To improve the recipe, Morris used a technique he found on Reddit, but eventually sought the advice from a gelatin supplier and his gummies started to get better.
“I know nothing about food,” says Morris, a 31-year-old native Oregonian and the CEO of Wyld. “At this point, I know about the commercialization of food, but I’m still a terrible cook.”
Hungry for More: Morris believes he can build the “Anheuser-Busch of edibles” by hiring “rebels and misfits.”
Michael Schmitt for Forbes
Eventually, he perfected recipes for Wyld’s first two flavors—marionberry and raspberry. Every morning going forward, Morris and some hired line cooks would crank out another 1,500 gummies. The third cofounder, Rene Kaza, who had quit his job as a firefighter to join the company, would fill his Honda Civic with their confections three times a week and drive three hours to Portland to deliver shipments to dispensaries.