Earlier this year James Dalman, founder of Happy Joe, announced that he would be shutting down the non-profit organization in favor of creating a for-profit venture. Although he said he enjoyed helping veterans find employment opportunities in WordPress, Dalman cited lack of funding as the primary reason for discontinuing the non-profit.
Happy Joe relaunched its website last week with a new focus on offering medical marijuana education and workshops for veterans. The revamped organization aims to connect veterans to cannabis as an alternative to opiates and other prescriptions offered by VA physicians to those who struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression, anger, and other mental health issues.
“My business partners and I had been discussing medical marijuana for months,” Dalman said. “Cannabis wasn’t something I was interested in because of my teenage experience with it. I worked hard to get away from the ‘stoner lifestyle’ for a variety of reasons. But cannabis is extremely beneficial for treating PTSD and other mental health issues within our military veteran community.”
One of Dalman’s partners on the venture, Frank Spady, is a Vietnam veteran and Army Ranger who saw combat daily. His experience was part of the inspiration for Happy Joe’s new direction.
“He had horrible nightmares and flashbacks until he started using medical marijuana,” Dalman said. “It changed his life and it convinced me to pursue this path.”
How Happy Joe Plans to Fund the New For-Profit Company
Happy Joe’s new team hopes to establish the organization as an authority on medical marijuana for veterans. They will be funding education and workshops through sponsorships, advertising, and workshop fees. This requires them to navigate the evolving marketing laws and regulations for medical marijuana.
“The mindset around medical marijuana and cannabis is changing,” Dalman said. “It took several decades after the prohibition for alcohol to be morally accepted in society. Cannabis is doing the same, only at a more accelerated pace. With more states legalizing medical marijuana, it provides us with great opportunities for helping veterans and being financially sustainable.”
The first Happy Joe workshop will be held in Las Vegas, as the company is focusing on states that have legalized marijuana, either medically or recreationally.
“We’re hoping to partner with local dispensaries, growers, and other cannabiz companies to have space to conduct these workshops,” Dalman said.
In addition to sponsorships and advertising, Happy Joe plans to launch a medical marijuana product line for veterans, something they would have had a difficult time running through the non-profit organization.
“We’re working on plans for a line of products that includes the Happy Joe brand,” Dalman said. “Rolling papers, cannabis oils, apparel, and even a strain of cannabis to help with PTSD. We’re in talks with some cannabis companies right now to make these ideas happen.”
The team will continue to operate the business using WordPress and is also working with WP Dispensary creator Robert DeVore to bring more awareness to WordPress-powered tools for the cannabis industry.
No Re-Branding Necessary
Despite the major changes to the organization, Happy Joe will not be rebranding. Coincidentally, the name still suits the purpose of the new S-corp fairly well.
When asked if he considered rebranding, Dalman said, “Not in a million years! Happy Joe is a great name for our military focus and idea of mental wellness for veterans. The Happy Joe name and logo is even more awesome for the cannabis industry. And don’t be surprised if you see a Happy Jane character be born soon.”
Dalman said that he sees a great opportunity for the new for-profit venture in the cannabis industry to help veterans in more ways than the non-profit could.
“All of these products could generate revenues that finance needs for military veterans,” he said. “We’re tired of the government giving the shaft to veterans. We hope to do something about that.”
Thanks Sarah for a great write up about what we’re doing with Happy Joe. It’s going to be an interesting ride for us, but one we’re willing to take to benefit our military veterans.