The exterior of the Blue Collar Criminals Dispensary and shop is covered in murals by artist Jeks.

Putting in work

On the eve of the state’s fifth legal 4/20, Oklahoma Gazette checks in with Blue Collar Criminals, the first cannabis company The High Culture profiled.

It’s the first week of April and muralist Jeks is applying the finishing touches on his latest in a series of photorealistic and iconic images to the exterior of 1015 NW 1st St.

This time, it’s Ben Franklin, more specifically a portion of the current hundred-dollar bill.

As much as Willy Wonka, Darth Vader, Albert Einstein and the others embody the ethos of Blue Collar Criminals, also sometimes known as B.C.C. Collective, so does the snapshot of the founding father on the currency.

After all, the brand’s new slogan is, “Nobody cares, work harder” and a T-shirt they just released reads: “That’s what the money’s for.”

Originally founded as a clothing brand, Delaney has doubled down on that element, renovating what was once the waiting room for the dispensary into a miniature fashion store. Having split his time between Oklahoma and Venice Beach for much of his adult life, the designs and phrases on the newest line of products reference the West Coast lifestyle.

“I have a really good artist that I work with in L.A. We’re in lockstep. We're from the same era, have the same background, so some of the slogans and things that we come up with are maybe not the most known sayings, but they're known within a certain group or class of people. People like that it's not the same type of thing that you can get at the mall,” Delaney said.

Delaney also splits his attention evenly between the cannabis side of the brand and its fashion element, he said.

click to enlarge Putting in work
Berlin Green
The interior of the Blue Collar Criminals shop.

“They're binary. I have to think about those at the same time because it's all part of the same thing. So we’re always hunting new flavors that we like on top of thinking about the next design for a T-shirt or hoodie. I have to be thinking about both things all the time,” he said.

With its bold branding, B.C.C. has long been criticized for its recreational approach to Oklahoma’s cannabis market, which is still strictly medical after State Question 820 was voted down last month.

“I think it didn't pass because overall people in Oklahoma are just tired of anything cannabis-related. They were just naysaying anything that had to do with cannabis, especially people who don't put much thought into it as a community or as a product. They're aware that there's a dispensary on every corner and they're aware that every time they watch the news, there's some negative connotation,” Delaney said.

On March 7, standing alone on a ballot in a special election called by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma voters rejected SQ820 with nearly 62 percent voting against it. While approximately 35,000 fewer voters turned out to vote it down, nearly 300,000 fewer Oklahomans took to the polls to support it as they did to pass State Question 788 in 2018.

“As a business owner, I think it definitely would have been good for the community. It obviously would have brought in more people that don't live in this state to consume and spend money on cannabis products and Oklahoma when they're visiting for whatever reason. So I do think they kind of missed the check on that. I thought it was going to pass at first because I figured it just makes sense. We have such a liberal market now — it's almost rec. In those last couple of weeks before the vote, it became apparent that maybe it wasn’t going to pass. I just have to be patient and wait for this whole thing to evolve and materialize,” he said.

The next stage of his vision is a Bricktown lounge and dispensary in a partnership with Noble Cannabis Co. The wheels for the project started turning before the vote, but its failure hasn’t ground them to a halt.

“I went to Amsterdam a long time ago. Loved it. Thought it was super cool. Like alcohol and tobacco, there's this evolution where it's new, people like it, they're consuming it, there's some backlash, some laws are applied or whatever. It goes through this growing period, and then it settles and it becomes this legal taxed commodity. And then after that come places to consume in groups or clubs, social gatherings where it’s accepted, and we're able to do this together. Like bars are for alcohol, being able to go and sit and consume cannabis products with friends and some refreshments just makes sense. It also seems to be what's happening in other parts of the country,” Delaney said.

While other cannabis consumption lounges have opened, Delaney said none that he’s seen in this state take the concept in the direction they’re planning.

“We want to create something that's a little bit of a hybrid between a lounge and a Peaky Blinders-era style bar and offer good drinks and good cups of coffee with a variety of entertainment. It has enough space to be an event space, as well as, for Fridays and Saturdays, an alternative to just going to the club,” he said.

“It’s all part of the same beast. It's all a brand. I’m thinking about this in its entirety,” Delaney said.

Being ahead of the curve has always been at the core of the Blue Collar Criminals mentality, including elements like testing before it was required and prepackaging cannabis flower as has become common practice in other markets and is being considered by the legislature. While the first five years have been largely about Delaney being patient and letting the market mature, his hands aren’t idle.

“This kumbaya thing that people say sometimes: ‘There's room for all of us. We can all eat.’ No, we can't. I don't know why they say that. That's not true in any other market. I feel like they just say that to try to have some sort of peace and love approach to it, but it's not true. At the end of the day, you can be in this for the love of the plant and the community and helping sick patients and that's fine. That's good. But you can't do any of that if you can't stay in business, if you can't turn a profit,” Delaney said.

“It's still all gas pedal for us.”

  • or