Puffsy brings Cannabis Innovation Home to Louisville

Despite our state government dragging its feet on shifting laws on cannabis so that adults can decide how or when they use cannabis, businesses that cater to the cannabis industry are cropping up in Kentucky, and not just “head” shops. People are building industries around all parts of cannabis and hemp. 

One company, currently based in Louisville, Puffsy is shifting the convenience and cleanup of smoking cannabis flower. 

“We play a lot of board games on Friday nights. And, one night we were in a heated game of Catan,” said Convenient Cannabis/Puffsy CEO and Founder Zechariah Corcimiglia of when he came up with the idea for Puffsy at his “Power Ragers” game night. “It was taking like 20 minutes for them to get their stuff out — trying to pack and clean everything. And, it hit me. Then I’m like, ‘There’s gotta be better way.’ Because we all like smoking flower. With vapes, there’s other issues. We’re flower people. So I thought of the idea. I put in my notepad, I’m like, ‘Keurig for cannabis.’”

Because cannabis flower smoking is messy, with metal screens, clogged pipes, etc., the ease of Puffsy pods appeals to a cannabis smoker who doesn’t want to deal with the dirt of ash and resins, but those who want an easy, clean smoking experience.

In 1992, Keurig, founded by college roommates John Sylvan and Peter Dragone, innovated coffee drinking ease by creating drop-in pods eliminating the need for coffee to sit in brew pots for long periods. Puffsy is doing something similar for the flower-smoking cannabis user. 

Corcimiglia’s idea essentially created a recyclable glass pod that comes pre-filled with cannabis flower. In addition to the pods, Puffsy creates a glass pipe and glass bong attachment that serve to nestle the Puffsy pre-filled pods. 

Corcimiglia has a background in packaging engineering. When he started the development of Puffsy, he reached out to Peter Dragone who runs a consulting firm in Boston and also has roots in Louisville. Dragone, who usually charges a consulting fee, became an equity partner in the business. 

Since cannabis flower is not legal in Kentucky, Dragone suggested that Puffsy become a non-flower-touching manufacturer. For Puffsy, this means that the glassware (pipes and bowls) and the flower-filling machine for the pods are manufactured here and sent to co-packers (also called white labelers) in legal states. 

“So, now our business model is, we have our filling machines that we lease to all the co-packers —white labelers. All these brands that are not vertically integrated, they grow flower and then they have to send it to a processor to fill their pre-roll, anything like that,” said Corcimiglia. “What Peter did was he came in and said, Hey, let’s change the business model. We’ll lease our filling equipment to all these co-packers.”

For Puffsy that allows them to work with top cannabis brands to create a premium product that offers that convenience and easy cleanup to consumers. 

Puffsy began as a customer-facing product but with the changes and structure brought by Dragone, they have shifted their focus to a more peer-to-peer model seeking flower companies to partner with. 

When Puffsy launched, first in California, their product sold out. The company now has plans to move into new markets. 

“We’re offering a turnkey service for brands that want to go into it [the pods],” said Corcimiglia. “However, like a Cookies brand, they’re a billion dollar company. They have some big design folks, so if they want to come up with a secondary package for retail, they’re more than welcome to do so.”

Puffsy is getting good press and has been featured in several marijuana publications and on podcasts such as “Cannabis Talk 101.”

“Our company is committed to revolutionizing the cannabis experience through our innovative product, Puffsy,” Corcimiglia said in an email to LEO Weekly. “With global patents and ambitious plans to expand into various legal states, we are proud to be a trailblazer right here in our hometown.”

When Kentucky finally reaches the modern age, and legalizes cannabis in a meaningful way, companies like Puffsy are prepared to innovate in the industry and bring job growth and a stronger and more skilled workforce to the state. If Puffsy is any indication, the opportunities for local businesses and creative thinkers are just getting off the ground. All politicians in the state should get behind any idea that lets the innovators and cannabis grow from our own soil.