Patrick Taylor: Eden Labs
It took him quite a few different careers to finally find one that captivated his attention longer than the span of a couple years, but it was the cannabis industry that finally did the trick. He stood before the opportunity, eyes wide open to the path that didn’t exist, the path that he had control of making. Patrick Taylor dove into what there was to learn and taught himself the rest and now he has found himself as the Technical Advisor of Eden Labs, a manufacturing company for extraction equipment. Don’t listen to what you’ve been told all your life, he says, you can trailblaze your own way. You can make it happen!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
Well, my roots are in the medical industry back when cannabis was being used as medicine here in Washington. I had started a small company doing extraction for collectives and Saturday markets. What really interested me in the industry was the fact that it was a new frontier, a whole new realm of science that hadn’t been explored in a meaningful way. I saw an opportunity to actually do my own research and be able to actually contribute original work to the emerging world of concentrates as medicine.
It was definitely the research and development portion of it, the product development, the people that were doing things that have never been done before, that piqued my interest. If you’re setting up a new restaurant, there’s a rule book you can follow. You have to get your cooks, servers, hosts – There’s a template to guide you, but with this industry, there was no template! We were able to build the industry the way we wanted to build it and that was super exciting to me. I wanted to be part of it as soon as I realized the possibilities.
We were able to build the industry the way we wanted to build it and that was super exciting to me. I wanted to be part of it as soon as I realized the possibilities.
What were you doing before?
So, I did a little bit of everything. Nothing could ever hold my attention. I was a preschool teacher, a fire fighter, a chef, a waiter, all sorts of different things. I changed jobs simply out of boredom. I felt like I’d get my fill of an industry and then move onto the next. Interestingly enough, this has been the only industry that’s been able to keep my attention longer than a couple of years and that’s certainly due to this idea of constantly discovering new things, R&D. I don’t see myself getting bored with this industry anytime soon. We still have a lot of work to do to figure it all out. It’ll probably be quite a few more years until we’ll be able to iron out all the hiccups, but that is what’s exciting about it! I’m still a young guy, so I haven’t had too much time in the workforce. I studied philosophy in college, switched to chemistry, and got out of college in my early 20s. I joined Eden Labs when I was 26 years old and have been here ever since.
Tell me about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
I think when it clicked for me was when venture capitalists started getting into the industry. When Eden Labs first started, our customer base were already largely familiar with the cannabis industry. They were people who’ve been in this space for years upon years. Then, at a certain point, I realizing that at conventions and other industry related events, a lot of our customers came to us from unrelated industries and we started having to implement a lot more education and getting into minutia like what kind of lights to use and the life cycle of the plant, whereas before, we didn’t have to do that ground-up education. But, I don’t mind it in the least; I love that education portion of the industry. It’s a very exciting part of what I do!
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Currently, I’m working on some experimental equipment where we can fractionally separate the constituents of cannabis. Traditionally, the way you would fractionate when you’re doing extractions is by time. You’d take the first hour of extraction, then separate it from the second hour of extraction, and so on. We’ve made some equipment, that we’re still working on, that can separate all the monoterpines from the THC, or all the THC from the CBD, and that’s what I’m doing in an R&D capacity at Eden Labs is trying to lock down that technology and bring it to the public.
Describe your work ethic to us in one word.
Innovational. That’s really the only thing that’s important to me in the workplace. I like discovering new things and doing the research and development portion of that. My mom would say it’s because I’m a Gemini and that’s why it’s difficult to keep my attention for long, but my work here at Eden has been congruent with that part of my personality. I’ll be doing sales one day, then in the R&D lab on the next day, and then the following day, I’m doing some consulting. That’s what I love to do! I don’t think I could just sit down and do the same thing every day for the rest of my life. I gotta switch gears often.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? How did this person impact your life?
That would absolutely be, without a doubt, Fritz Chess, the founder of Eden Labs. A number of years ago, he took me under his wing and he became the person who really got me interested in extractions of all sorts – ethanol, hydrocarbon, critical CO2 – and educated me on a variety of plants, with a focus on cannabis. He’s one of those people that I was talking about earlier, who’s been in this industry for a number of years since 1996. So, I was able to draw on his knowledge, get his opinion on the industry, and infuse that passion of his for medicine and innovation into my own drive. He’s definitely my role model. I look up to him both professionally and personally.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
Well, a big part of the development of my professional life has been a book called Strength Finder. In that book is a way to analyze what strengths you have professionally, how to embrace those strengths, and how to ignore the things that you’re not so good at. My strengths being that I can do multiple things at one time, and my weakness of not being able to simply sit at a desk doing a singular task.
A second resource of mine I’d like to recommend here (and I’m going to bend the rules a little bit here) is a website called Skunk Pharm. It is the #1 resource for anyone interested in extractions. They are exceptionally knowledgeable and have spearheaded a lot of the do-it-yourself research, which is really all we’ve got; there are no scholarly articles, no template, or blueprint. So, if people are interested in concentrates and extractions, that’s the place they should visit and learn.
Tell us about an esteemed achievement of yours.
I think the highlight of my career so far has been using that fractional separator to make 98% pure THCA. It’s the highest concentration I’ve ever heard of coming straight out of an extraction system. There were no waxes, no terpenes, which isn’t particularly good (I moved the terpenes over into another separator, so they were about 90% pure in another portion of the vessel). It had a pumice-like consistency, so I called it Moon Rock. That was really exciting when I did that. I kinda had this idea and what I thought would happen, did happen! I will look back on that day very fondly, for days to come.
I think the highlight of my career so far has been using that fractional separator to make 98% pure THCA. It’s the highest concentration I’ve ever heard of coming straight out of an extraction system.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
So, the best advice I’ve ever gotten actually came from Fritz and it wasn’t a one-liner. It was a philosophy. When I was in my early 20s, or even before that, when I was a teenager, I was told that you had to follow rules to do something that you were passionate about. If you wanted to be an architect, you had to go to school, then be an intern, then you had to do this and that, and eventually, you’d have an architecture firm. It was this linear path that you were told you had to follow in life. Fritz showed me that you could literally do anything you wanted as long as you were willing to put in the hard work. I wanted to be an extraction chemist, so I just started reading chemistry books and educated myself and now, here I am! That was huge for me to realize that you can really just bend the rules and take charge of your own destiny!
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
The most important thing to know is that it’s growing, exceptionally fast, faster than any industry in history. Know that there’s a lot of room for improvement and that it’s important for those of us in the industry to self-regulate, be ethical in our decisions, and ultimately be a good example for others entering our space. We can show by example that it can be done responsibly and ethically and that we don’t need to cut corners to get to where we need to be. We need to set a good example for states like New York, Michigan, and Florida so that everyone is acting in a way that moves the industry forward.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
Hopefully, we’ll be talking about concentrates a lot more. I think that’s the future of cannabis, but then again, I may be a little bit biased on that. I think that in the East Coast and Midwest, we’re going to see a lot of interesting things happen as well, perhaps a cultural transformation. Because although it’s the lawmakers who make the laws, it’s the culture and the people who have the power to make a change. Take Colorado and Washington for example, it was the people who demanded that cannabis be made legal and the lawmakers had to respond to that. I think that’s what’s going to happen in other states; people are going to start demanding that lawmakers repeal prohibition.