We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Torres and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am originally from Puerto Rico. My background and upbringing, particularly my parents and our family, had a huge influence in helping me become the person I am today. Life happens, we grow, we take on new challenges and we pursue our dreams, especially in the business world, but those foundational values of decency, honesty, hard work, faith and determination were instilled in me by my parents from a very early age. I was never the tallest, the fastest or the strongest, but they taught me to work hard, to never quit, to believe in myself and the talents and skills God had given me to make something of myself.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve been a practicing attorney for over 15 years, but I have always found myself very involved in the business side of things. That is why I decided to go in-house early in my legal career. The business experience I gained while working for a few Fortune 500 companies as well as some of the top European companies in the Infrastructure industry really set me up for the challenges that entering the cannabis industry and operating a viable business in that sector would present. We started Cultiva Wellness in 2019, shortly after the passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and created a countrywide industry. As an attorney, I was able to navigate the not-so-clear regulatory framework. Our group has been able to set itself apart and will be a major player in the industry. Right now, we have a commercial hemp farm in Puerto Rico, a hemp wholesale and distribution business in Florida, a well-established legal and business consulting practice for the cannabis/hemp/CBD industry, and my favorite venture yet, our technology and digital venture, the Cultiva Wellness App and our automated retail points of sale, the Cultiva Wellness Pantries. Coming from the corporate world, we noticed that the cannabis industry was full of incredibly smart, knowledgeable people, who are not always comfortable with “suits”. We also noticed that small businesses, mom and pop shops, startups, and other similar ventures did not have a platform where they could get noticed. The cannabis (THC) side of the house has well-established platforms, particularly focused on bigger companies in the west coast, but the hemp/cbd sector was missing something similar. This is why we created MapMyCBD (now, the Cultiva Wellness App). We wanted to bring cannabis/hemp/cbd to the mainstream, make it accessible, remove the taboos, and get conversations going about the health and wellness benefits of hemp/cannabis/cbd and stay away from the unfortunate perceptions that have been perpetuated of the industry. That’s why we went with red and white, instead of traditional green colors, for example. It has been very challenging to launch ventures in the space, I will not sugar coat it. From access to banking and payment processing to the lack of regulation by the FDA and other government bodies, we have been putting out fires and dealing with challenges for years. The positive part of all of this is that we are now in a position to help other businesses launch and grow. We have been able to provide support to other people who want to enter or are already in the industry and need some support. That’s what Cultiva Wellness is all about.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow… that’s a tough one. Miami is one of my favorite places on earth and the one I have decided to call home for the past 6 years. I am a bit partial towards Wynwood, the historical Puerto Rican neighborhood of Miami, but I have found that almost every neighborhood has great offerings. From local spots owned and operated by some of my friends, like Buya and Le Chick in Wynwood to classics like Michael’s Genuine in the Design District, Shuckers in North Bay Village or burgers from Kush also in Wynwood, there is always somewhere cool to go in this city. I am a huge fan of Sunday brunch. After service at Vous Church, my wife and I like to get together with friends at some of these spots to get some delicious food, catch the Heat game and have a good time with good people. You would be surprised of the spots we have found. From Hialeah, Coral Gables, Kendall, Coconut Grove, the Beach and everywhere in between, there’s always something happening in the city. Of course, anything on Biscayne Bay is an absolute must. Paddle boarding or an afternoon boat or kayak ride on the Bay, spotting a few dolphins swimming by or the occasional manatee are truly special. I guess, at the end of the day, I’m 305 ’til I die.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would dedicate it to my beautiful wife, Teresa, who has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, is the hardest working person I have ever met, and who has demonstrated an unbelievable amount of patience during the startup phase of our business. Also, to my mom and dad, who gave me everything and taught me the values I live by, and to my brother and sister for always having my back, especially when life hasn’t been smooth or predictable. To Daniela, Juli and Diego, the next generation, who will do things we can’t even imagine. Lastly, to my grandmother, Yiya, who is watching from heaven, who was my biggest fan and was so proud of me, but more importantly, who had one of the biggest faiths I have ever seen.