- BJ Hughes uses Instagram for his cannabis business.
Bobby James Hughes III, known to friends as “BJ,” went online for the first time in 1991. Two years later, he built his first computer and joined early marijuana message boards like Overgrow.com and ICMag. In 2011, he posted on Instagram before it became popular. Find him now at @sogarmy on IG.
“It’s been crazy,” BJ tells me. “I’ve used Instagram in all aspects of my cannabiz: hiring employees, making friends, branding new products and sharing tips on various aspects of cultivation.”
Brand Recognition is essential for survival in a competitive marketplace.
BJ makes all of the materials for his Instagram account, which has over 22,000 followers, many of them local. With his iPhone, he goes live while working. Some of his videos are funny, with background music and eye-catching pop art. He posts regularly on his IG Storyline. Followers get the latest news and can pick up fresh products at dispensaries. BJ gets the most “likes” with high-resolution photos.
“We love Sonoma County and want to give back,” he says. He and his team serve food at the Guerneville Winter Shelter. As a member of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance and the Hessel Farmers Grange, he’s involved in the local community.
BJ’s love affair with the cannabis plant goes back even farther than his relationship to computers, email, the internet and Instagram. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, he learned about growing food from his grandfather, Bobby Hughes I, who owned a small farm. His son, Bobby James Hughes II, ran an auto body shop, where BJ learned essential skills that helped make his business the success it is today.
As a teen, he tried weed with his peers, and learned about it from High Times and message-board friends around the world who are still part of the industry. In college, he studied network engineering, graduating with a degree in computer science. When voters approved Prop 215 and medical marijuana was legalized, he told himself, “California seems like the place to be.” He moved here in 2006.
“SOG Cannabis” is the name of his company. SOG = “Sea of Green,” which is a tried-and-true method of growing primo weed. BJ’s company is licensed. It’s an indoor facility that features only one plant per square foot. A multiple High Times Cannabis Cup winner, BJ is known for his speciality products, including small-batch, high-end flower, pre-rolls and concentrates which are available at Organicann, Mercy Wellness and Harborside in Oakland.
“I’m a cannabis grower!” he tells me. “I love what I do, where I do it and I love sharing via Instagram!”
Jonah Raskin is the author of “Dark Past, Dark Future: A Tioga Vignetta Murder Mystery.”