The Rehab Interviews – Jiří Stabla of Carun
Its one of the most exciting medical trends we have witnessed in decades, the use of Cannabinoids to treat illness and help repair the human body. There are many advocates that swear by its natural effectiveness and its arrival onto the pharmaceutical stage has been greeted with apprehension by drug companies and shrewd investment by savvy entrepreneurs. Its growing market share has been noted by industry mandarins and the man behind it expansion, Jiří Stabla, a quietly spoken young Czech with a love for music, Vegan food and Ibiza, is about to announce his arrival onto the Western stage. His company, Carun, is based in the Czech Republic, the market leader and biggest producer of cannabis based healthcare products in Europe. In his home country, Jiří enjoys a high media profile, a poster boy for a new generation of Slavic entrepreneurs that are cutting a dash on Western markets with their personable character and hard work ethic. The language barrier has shielded the young 34 year old businessman from the attention of the English speaking media, but that is all about to change as we get to know the man behind Carun.
Jiří Stabla was born on the tough coal mining streets of Havirov, originally a Polish town, but settled by Slovakian migrant families after WW2, making it the Czech Republic’s youngest city in 1955. With its Russian influence, it was a hotbed of gangland crime and as he grew up, Jiří was exposed to its learn to fight or die, environment. He was raised by his mother and grandmother and with no father figure to influence his direction, he soon learnt the ways of the street and became a feared martial arts fighter to defend himself from gangs and enemies which had made attempts on his life. His first job was as a Bouncer at a local club and when one night the DJ due to play was hospitalised after an attack on the way to work, Jiří was asked to stand in and perform his childhood hobby for music. He was an instant success and the Club owner pleaded with Jiří to trade his security job for a more lucrative and safer DJ position. His fame grew and he was approached by a local radio station to broadcast a weekly show where he cleverly marketed the fledgling Carun product range to his audience. He had earlier met his girlfriend and partner, Hanka Pristansova, a striking, black haired, woman with a similar drive and ambition that Jiří possessed. Hanka was Jiří’s muse, the body that cultivated the seeds of Carun, after her eczema was cured by a homemade cannabinoid ointment given to him by a friend.
Seeking a better life for themselves, the aspiring young couple saw the opportunity that the homemade ointment presented to them. They were living in a country with a long tradition and acceptance for hemp based healing ointments and when in 2008 Jiří received approval from the Czech Government, Carun, became the first company in the World to register a Cannabis based product as a medical device. In Western Europe, the powerful drug manufacturing companies continue its well funded lobby of to curtail the licensing of Cannabis based products, but recent legislative changes, has seen twenty five American states decriminalise its use for medical purposes but it controversially remains a controlled substance under federal law. Tax from the sales of Cannabis products have swelled the progressive states coffers and following its success, suffering patients in other countries are now campaigning for the availability of Medical Cannabis to treat muscle and nervous system related illness. Western Europe, its seems, is beginning to see the light and Carun with its impressive track record and established distribution network, is perfectly poised to be in the right place at the right time.
For the past number of years Jiří and Hana have based themselves in Ibiza, more than just a party island to the couple. It is now their home and a central base to network and promote Carun to an international audience. They also helped establish Vegan Ibiza a vegan take-away restaurant styled to the San An tourist market. The open door policy of Ibiza has allowed Jiří to connect and introduce Carun to a diverse market and he has built a vehicle for its promotion via his experimental Techno party, Allergen, which he founded with Cafe Mambo’s sound engineer and fellow countryman, Jozef Lekno, in 2014. Using their performing names, DJ Nuff and Lekno, Allergen grew from a successful radio show on Ibiza Global Radio, to a weekly residency at Hush in San Antonio. Its experimental techno sound has already ruffled some well preened feathers on the cozy industry club scene, with a leading island DJ magazine omitting to recognise its growing presence on West End streets of San Antonio. However, a number of industry producers have acquired a taste for the Allergen sound and like Carun, is ready and waiting to be announced onto the European stage, as the Techno scene in Ibiza stagnates with some leading techno DJ’s, reverting to playing 80’s and 90’s music in their sets, in an effort to please the crowds as EDM invades the void left by the demise of Space.
So where now for Carun. It presently has 1000 employees and supplies its product range to 40 pharmacies Worldwide including outlets in China, USA and the UK. Jiří is fast learning English so that he can communicate the Carun philosophy to the UK and the USA where he sees huge potential. He already has a successful outlet in Florida and is currently seeking a partner in New York. In the UK, exciting times beckon as the brand is set to receive Nationwide exposure and endorsement in the coming months. It seems the World is his oyster right now and Jiří is happy to have Ibiza as the launching pad for the next stage of its humanitarian voyage to ease the plight of people suffering from illnesses that he is confident Cannabinoid treatment can cure. As a betting man I would not be averse to investing in some Carun shares going forward as the future for medicinal Cannabis products looks green.