Mike Reynolds’ love for his family, including son Kase, prompted him to change careers.
The former Central Valley High School coach/special education teacher worked for Ceres Unified School District for 10 years before turning his focus to the cannabis industry.
“Sometimes you can’t control what life throws at you,” said Reynolds, 38. “You have to do what’s best for your family. It was definitely a curveball. I had no intentions of ever being involved in cannabis. I thought I’d be a staple in the coaching and teaching environment in Ceres my entire career.”
Reynolds and his wife Katharine saw firsthand the benefits of using Jayden’s Juice, a cannabis-rich CBD tincture, to treat Kase. CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is an essential component of medical marijuana.
“The farm that produced the medication our son was taking to combat his epilepsy symptoms got raided in 2015,” Reynolds said. “It was a scary time. That was our lifeline. That was the turning point when we decided to get more involved.”
Kase was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder characterized by epilepsy and intellectual disability at the age of four months.
“We tried traditional pharmaceuticals and it didn’t work. It led us to the alternative pathway which was trying cannabis. It’s been a gamble we’ve been okay with. It’s helped with his seizure activity and our quality of life.”Mike Reynolds
“We tried traditional pharmaceuticals and it didn’t work,” Reynolds said. “It led us to the alternative pathway which was trying cannabis. It’s been a gamble we’ve been okay with. It’s helped with his seizure activity and our quality of life. It changed our perspective. Prior to any of this, we thought it (cannabis) was a farce.”
Reynolds is the CEO of Kase Manufacturing, which is located at 4111 Brew Master Drive in Ceres.
The 22,000-square-foot facility opened in 2017. It has a hemp division, cannabis lab and warehouse.
Kase Manufacturing’s mission is to provide clean alternative treatments, high-quality products and unparalleled service to communities and customers.
Reynolds is also co-founder of two medical marijuana dispensaries, including Kase’s Journey (Ceres) and Jayden’s Journey (Modesto).
The Ceres dispensary is located at 4030 Farm Supply Drive.
Parent company Starling Brands Inc., which Reynolds founded in 2017, is located in Canada.
Jayden’s Juice, Starling Brands’ flagship brand, is a line of products derived from a CBD-rich, full-spectrum, whole-plant cannabis strain. It has received international recognition as a premier CBD medicinal brand and continues to make a breakthrough in the wellness community.
“I never thought I’d be a CEO of an international company,” Reynolds said. “Our corporate office is in Toronto. We got a project we’re working on in Latin America. We have a distribution agreement in the UK.”
Reynolds’ local businesses have provided jobs for families and tax revenue for the city of Ceres.
“We’re a trusted source,” Reynolds said. “We built a reputation for caring for people.”
California passed Proposition 64, which approved the sale of recreational cannabis, in 2016.
“The last four years have been crazy,” Reynolds said. “It’s been an incredible journey. When we first started, our focus was CBD. We produce recreational products as well. I can’t say what the long-term use of cannabis does because of the lack of research. We’re going to learn as we go. There really are benefits. It’s not used just recreationally and abused. It’s meant to be taken in small amounts to provide relief and allow you to function. It’s an alternative for traditional pain prescriptions.”
Reynolds works 50-plus hours a week.
“I no longer have summers, spring breaks and holidays off,” he said. “My phone is never off. The work never stops. I can’t complain. We’re making a difference.”
Kase turned 7 in May.
He’s a student in the Move Program at Sonoma Elementary in Modesto.
He had up to 1,000 seizures a day before using CBD.
“His seizure activity is almost non-existent now,” Reynolds said. “He’s doing things we never thought he’d progress to. There’s a lot less worry. But there are still worries.”
Reynolds coached track and field at Central Valley for nine years.
He directed the Hawks’ cross country program for eight seasons.
Reynolds graduated from Ceres High School in 2000.
Katharine was employed by CUSD for seven years prior to quitting her job to take care of Kase. She spent the bulk of her career at Central Valley High School as a dance teacher.
Mike and Katharine also have a 10-year-old daughter (Kylie).
“We still feel super connected to CUSD,” Reynolds said. “We haven’t been treated any differently. We wear what we’re doing on our sleeves. We’re doing it for the right reasons.”