“A Modern-Day Pirate on the High Seas”: Meet Barry “Flash” Foy

“…like being a modern-day pirate on the high seas… something that could get into a young fellow’s blood.”
— Judge Falcon Black Hawkins Jr.

In our first blog in our ongoing GS Blog Series, we introduced you to our brand and described our vision for the future. Let’s now begin to “Meet the Smugglers” as we get you familiar with one of the central figures in the GS Story: Barry “Flash” Foy.

Keep reading as we talk about his SC origins, explain what the ‘848’ statute is, discuss why Barry chose to found the Gentlemen Smugglers brand, and highlight one of our esteemed social equity initiative partners, The Last Prisoner Project.

Meet “Flash”

Barry Foy grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and in his younger days, his jobs included stints as a gas station attendant, newspaper delivery boy, and construction crewman.

Barry didn’t take to formal schooling (neither at Newberry College, nor at USC) and he started selling small quantities of pot to soldiers, ironically, before moving further south to Hollywood, Florida. It just so happened that he found the right beachside hotel at the right time, and naturally fell in with some other, more established marijuana entrepreneurs.

After his first adventure to Jamaica in 1971, hauling back over 400 pounds, things started moving quickly. For over a decade, Barry brought tons of cannabis to the masses, outwitting the authorities on every level and at every turn, and aptly living up to his nickname: “Flash”. He and his crew primarily used the coastal waters to distribute happiness to the people.

Until it all came crashing down…

‘848’ – Federal “Kingpin” Statute

In “The Presidential Sting that launched the War on Drugs,” the long arm of the law finally caught up with Foy and his associates; and since then they have all paid the price and served their time.

Barry was hit with the Federal ‘Kingpin’ statute (21 U.S.C. § 848) – spending 11 years behind bars for the crimes he committed. Ultimately, crimes that stemmed from a plant. It is because of this that we decided to use ‘848’ in our branding.

Why Found the Gentlemen Smugglers Brand Now?

To say that America has evolved since the Gentlemen Smugglers heyday is putting it lightly. A legal cannabis future, once unimaginable, is now very much real throughout many states, with federal legalization looming.

This lofty ‘future’ is now present – and now, as legal cannabis is becoming big business in the markets Barry served, preserving his legacy is of utmost importance to him.

The Gentlemen Smugglers brand was founded in order to ensure the citizens of the Bay State are getting premium cannabis products from the crew that started it all — while using our platform to spearhead and support cannabis social equity.

“Fighting Criminal Injustice and Reimagining Drug Policy” – Partnering with The Last Prisoner Project

We’ll be kicking off our social equity initiative efforts by partnering with The Last Prisoner Project.

About LPP:

“The Last Prisoner Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform. As the United States moves away from the criminalization of cannabis, giving rise to a major new industry, there remains the fundamental injustice inflicted upon those who have suffered criminal convictions and the consequences of those convictions. Through legal intervention, public education and legislative advocacy, we work to redress the past and continuing harms of our country’s unjust and ineffective approach to drug policy.”

Because of Barry’s unique story, we felt that partnering with Last Prisoner Project was most appropriate – to continue fighting for the thousands of unfairly incarcerated marijuana prisoners that are still behind bars in this changing country.

Stay Tuned for more blogs highlighting Barry’s amazing true story!

Keep following along with our GS Blog Series for more anecdotes that chronicle Barry’s rise to marijuana ‘kingpin-dom’. Believe us, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we’d tried…


With a rich background in accounting and a trail of successful mentees launching their accounting firms, Vanessa is not just a financial expert but the force behind the scenes, ensuring the numbers align for daring endeavors. Juggling the roles of being an accounting professional, mentor, business consultant, and proud DOPE CFO Pro Badge holder, she continues to bring a unique blend of dedication and organizational prowess to her role.

In 2019, Vanessa launched her accounting firm, Butler CFO & Tax, where she’s helped hundreds of firm owners and non-profit organizations scale their businesses.  She has been a driving force helping the Gentlemen Smugglers to stay successful.

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Peter Cardoz

As a passionate cannabis advocate, lifetime food enthusiast and veteran scientist, Peter brings his wealth of knowledge and love for cannabis to the Gentlemen Smugglers team. He started his research career from an early age, eventually conducting research at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, where he become published in Nature Communications.

In 2021, Peter started his own consulting company, Cardoz Blended Gourmet, and a launched a line of gourmet, live resin infused CBD culinary oils.

Cathy O'Hara

Meet Cathy, head of People Operations at Gentlemen Smugglers. Cathy is a former journalist turned Tech Pioneer. As the 35th employee at AirBNB, Cathy helped scale the home-sharing startup into the mega star it is today.

Cathy joins GS with a proven knowledge of recruiting, people leadership, community relationship building, customer service operations, workflow planning and project management. Plus she’s just a cool world traveler.