“Our mission is to make a quality product that we would want to use every day,” says Josh Hartsel, co-founder of Speakeasy 710, a renowned oil company based in Lake Forest. “We only produce the highest quality golden oil because that’s the product we want to use.”
Hartsel is the mad scientist of the Speakeasy 710 trio, boasting a PhD in Medicinal Organic Chemistry. Having a chemist on board, according to co-founders Mike Kelly and Ryan, is the not-so-secret ingredient to Speakeasy’s success. Why? Because once you’ve concocted quality oil, the cannabis industry is your oyster.
Hartsel flips a Speakeasy cartridge upside down, showing how molasses-like their oil is; a sign of clean, uncut oil. He explains that when the oil inside a cartridge has a low viscosity, or appears “runny,” it’s cut with something, like Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), which isn’t great. Although FDA approved, it’s unclear what happens chemically after it’s heated up (think carcinogens). Additionally, if PEG isn’t high grade it might have impurities in it, Hartsel says, like ethylene and diethylene glycol, which are anti-freeze derivatives and horrific for your kidneys!
“We’re different because we don’t cut our oil with anything,” says Hartsel. “Making a golden oil—the really quality stuff—gets rid of that nasty taste, too . It’s not black, and it doesn’t turn your formulation dark. Once you get that high viscosity golden oil, you can create anything your mind can think of.”
From chapsticks to THC and CBD tonics to dab pens and vaping oil, Speakeasy has something for pretty much everyone. But the current product line is just the start. The 1920’s stylized company is working on creating CBD sunscreens and they’re also about to release full spectrum CBD soft gel tablets.
But starting a stellar oil company isn’t something Hartsel, Kelly and Ryan blindly dove into. They’ve all worked in the cannabis industry for a decade or more. Hartsel is the Chief Science Officer of Ecofibre, a company that focuses on industrial hemp technologies. Kelly—who’s known as “Aloha Mike” to OC canna-locals—opened one of the first dispensaries in Santa Ana back in 2009. He also was heavily involved with Measure CC—the competing ballot measure that lost to Measure BB, allowing 20 licensed dispensaries in Santa Ana. Ryan got his start in the cannabis game back in Canada, where he worked as the marketing manager for a Privateer Holdings cannabis company that had 200 employees and a 7,000 light cultivation site, equating to 40,000 plants.
Together, the Speakeasy trio are a formidable unit who possess the same vision: Crafting an oil that’s lab tested, pesticide-fee and consistent in quality. “When a sommelier looks at a wine they pour it in a glass, smell it, swirl it around, look at the legs on the side of the glass, take a sip, aerate it over their tongue and then swallow,” says Ryan. “The color, clarity, viscosity, flavor and how it makes you feel are all things we take into consideration when making our oil.”